What’s an Epic in Agile Project? Best Tips to Manage Epics and Sprints

What’s an Epic in Agile Project? Best Tips to Manage Epics and Sprints

Agile methodology is becoming more and more popular in almost all organizations. Therefore, it is vital to understand its processes in detail. For example, what is Epic in agile?

We all must have heard of the term epic in agile but might not be clear on what exactly it is.

While some of us might know it as a vast story, there is more to it. Therefore, in this blog, we will learn what an epic is, its significance in an agile structure, how to create it, and the best tips to manage epics and sprints.

So, are you ready for an ‘epic’ start?

Read on…

What’s an Epic in Agile Project?

The word “Epic” implies something grand or vast. Thus, this is where the term epic came in agile methodology.

Epics are larger blocks that are broken down into smaller, manageable blocks based on the user’s needs and requirements. Blocks here refers to as the “user stories” in agile methodology.

Agile Alliance defines Epic as:

“A large user story that cannot be delivered as defined within a single iteration or is large enough that it can be split into smaller user stories.”

Note: User stories are the user’s needs and requirements as defined by them.

Thus, Epics are important for teams to prioritize the product backlog. Teams work together towards an epic. So, they take it back to the backlog refinement process whenever customer feedback is received. In this process, the unwanted user stories are removed, and new ones are added (if any).

What’s Epic in Agile Structure?

what-is-epic-in-agile-structure

Now that we know what epics are, let’s understand how and where they fall in an agile structure. Here is a structure of an agile project!

  1. Project Roadmap: It is the plan or complete sketch of how a product or solution will evolve.
  2. Theme: A theme refers to organizational goals.
  3. Initiatives: It is a group of epics to be completed over a timeline. Thus, once an epic set is completed, an initiative is also completed.
  4. Epics: Initiatives are broken down into epics. This is rather a larger complex user story which is broken down into a smaller story for taking a specific action.
  5. User stories: User stories are the needs and requirements as described by the user. Each user story is sent to the product backlog, divided into various sprints. Each sprint is completed in a short period of one or two weeks.

Epics In Agile Example

Is it all sounding too complex? Let’s break it down with an example!

Let’s say the concert manager asks to get 10,000 people to attend the concert by all means. Thus, he needs you to find a solution to do that.

  • Product roadmap: A product sketch of you to have 0 people right now to have 10,000 people in a given time.
  • Theme: To sell tickets to 10,000 people to attend the concert
  • Epic: To use social media platforms to sell more tickets.
  • Stories:
    • Send messages about the concert
    • Create relevant content for Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter
    • Create hype among the public
    • Give special discounts and coupons

Thus, the hypothetical Epic to use social media platforms to sell more tickets sounds like a complex user story. Therefore, it is broken down into smaller actionable and manageable stories.

The development team then works on each user story separately by dividing it further into a set of tasks called “sprints.” Completion of each sprint is directly proportional to the completion of a user story or requirement.

Note: A single project can have more than one Epic as described by the user with their own set of user stories.

How to create an Epic in Agile Project?

Creating an epic will help you become clear on your goals, set better timelines for completing each sprint, and meet stakeholders’ demands much more effectively. To create an epic, you should:

1. Name your Epic

It is pivotal to give a name or title to your Epic before starting on anything. It will help you to be clear on your ideas and objectives.

Taking the hypothetical example mentioned above, the theme was to sell tickets to 10,000 people to attend the concert. Through this, we titled our Epic as “using social media platforms to sell more tickets.

Through this, you’d be clear on what your team is supposed to work on.

2. Jot down what you want to achieve

You should write down what you hope to achieve through this Epic. For this, you should be clear on the following:

  • What is your buyer’s persona?
  • What are your objectives?
  • What do you hope to achieve out of them?

Here is what it will look like:

As a senior manager of the concert authority, I want to sell 10,000 tickets to get a profit of 15% out of it. 

3. Scope of the epic

The next step would be establishing the scope of the Epic to simplify the processes and have a better understanding for yourself. Here is how you can write the scope of the Epic!

Epic title: Use social media platforms to sell more tickets.

  • Which platforms to use?
  • Which audience to target?
  • Which form of content is to be displayed?

4. Create stories out of it

Now that you’ve got the whole Epic laid in front of you. It’s time to divide this large Epic to write smaller actionable stories for the execution of the project.

5 Best Tips to Manage Epics and Sprints

tips-to-manage-epics-and-sprints

Managing epics and sprints can be hard with so many user requirements and needs. Thus, here are the 5 best tips on how you can manage your epics and sprints effectively.

1. Set your goals

You should develop a goal for your Epic and an individual goal for each sprint. A goal refers to what you hope to achieve out of each task.

Your epic goal is based on your theme. Whereas your sprint goal is based on a specific user story. This will help you to execute your processes in a much better way.

2. Set Priorities

Once you have your goal, you have to set priorities to help you achieve your goals. As we have already mentioned, a project can have more than one Epic, so choose the one that has the highest priority to achieve the goal.

Similarly, in sprints, we choose the stories with higher priority to fulfill the set goal.

3. Arrange meetings

recurring_meeting

Don’t try to take the whole burden on your shoulders. The agile methodology requires the entire team to be on board for its successful implementation at each stage.

Therefore, hold meetings and describe everything to the whole team in detail. This would help you in better management and in brainstorming new ideas.

4. Set deadlines

start_end_dates

To deliver your project on time, you need to set appropriate deadlines for each Epic and sprint. This is crucial for gaining stakeholders’ satisfaction and successfully implementing the project.

You can use nTask’s task management feature to effectively set due dates and reminders for each sprint.

5. Create task dependencies

dependencies1

You can use Gantt charts to create task dependencies. In this way, you’d develop a proper flow for the completion of each Epic and sprint. You can read this blog to know how to create dependencies effectively.

Pro tip: Use project management software to effectively manage your epics and sprints.

Conclusion

To conclude, if you plan to use an agile methodology for your projects, it is pivotal to understand all of its stages and successfully implement them.

Thus, with a proper tool, you can manage all your agile management processes in a much smoother way. So, go Epic with your projects and develop the best techniques for your team.

Hope you liked our blog.

Wish you good luck!

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