With another Sprint Planning, the problem returns: how can I persuade the team to break it all down into a couple of smaller tasks rather than creating one big one?
Below you can find a couple of arguments that worked for me and that will also hopefully do the trick for you when it comes to this all too common problem.
Why small tickets are better for you?
Reason 1: Big tasks are much easier to underestimate or estimate incorrectly
When you plan to finish a task within two days or more it is almost certain that something else will pop up. Let’s be honest — it is impossible to plan a whole work schedule for two days when there is just one task. One of the most important tasks for every PM is to break big tasks down into smaller ones.
Ask yourself (or your team) `how?` and `why?` as many times as you wish, until you grasp the task as a whole and then take a close look at every stage that’s involved. Once you are able to divide the tasks into different steps, you are done! Now simply estimate each step individually. Simple, isn’t it?
Reason 2: Small tasks are way more transparent
Both the team and the client can easily see what is going on and track the progress of each task. It is much easier to quickly pinpoint a bug or a problem, which makes the whole procedure a much smoother one. Even if a bug does eventually rear its ugly head, it won’t break too many things and so it will be much easier to fix! Transparency is the key as the very last thing you want to have when running an IT project is confusion about who did what, how and when.
Reason 3: It’s much easier for a PM to plan the work of the whole team
You can assume what should be done every day and the burndown chart in Jira will be so nice at the end of the Sprint (a weekly iteration plan). You can react quickly when you see that something is going wrong and you have a blocker to cope with. You are also able to see the blockers right at the planning stage of the project.
One of the worst things you can actually do is not finish the sprint on time. It’s never nice to have to bring your client the sad news that you suck at planning and the work hasn’t been done. The solution is simple: divide tasks into smaller ones and estimate each one separately. It’s always better to finish faster and start another task from the backlog rather than not finish them on time at all.
Reason 4: The movement in Jira will progress
This really motivates the team and the clients. They can literally see the work going forward each week. Nothing more exciting than that! Also, it’s easier to track the progress of each Sprint.
Reason 5: Small tickets mean better descriptions of the tasks
You will be much more accurate while describing each step of the task rather than the task in general. It’s easier to understand what you need to do when the client describes exactly what she/he needs. Also, your QA will thank you for precise descriptions :) It’s easier to review smaller chunks of code rather than 150 lines of a huge task.
Those are the most important guidelines for every PM that came up during our workshops and that we have tried and tested here at Netguru. If you have any more, let me know in the comments below. We are always happy to get feedback from you!