One customer asked us an interesting question regarding relations of stories in ScrumDesk.

What ScrumDesk supports now is simple relations tracking solution. Very simple and basic functionality – possibility to track, see and print out it in documents.

scrumdesk window user story stories relations INVEST good user story dependencies priority product owner

For the first look, some basic functionality in ScrumDesk is missing. Functionality similar to Gantt chart way of relations (Finish-Start, Finish-Finish, etc.)

scrumdesk gannt chart user story relations

Gannt chart relations (Source: Wikipedia)

As you probably know, a good story in agile is written to fulfill INVEST principle:

  1. Independent
  2. Negotiable
  3. Valuable
  4. Estimable
  5. Sizable
  6. Testable

The first is (and not by coincidence) Independent. The reason is simple. To track dependencies in your hundreds of stories backlog is a mess. A big mess. A task that is a highly potential waste.

In our experience, 80-90% of stories could be rewritten into independent stories. How to do that? I do not have an answer for you. It is not easy, it requires an experience, feeling and still see a value in a slice. But it can be done.

How to solve dependencies?

But how to manage dependencies? IT IS ABOUT PRIORITY! Priority is a driver how to order things in agile, not dependencies. Order stories into releases and sprints. This helps you to forget about dependencies. It is more important.

scrumdesk release sprint user story dependencies

Set an importance of basic functionality higher than advanced functionality. This way you can add another brick to your wall and make it higher. Brick by brick

P.S.

Of course, enterprise backlogs probably require to manage dependencies as well, but it is typically program/product level in which you need to track dependencies of stories on which more teams are working. But this requires probably different beast to manage it.

What about great product owners?