Agile Thinking

Confused Between Epics, Stories, Themes, and Features? Clear All Knots Here

It is quite common to mix up between epics, stories, themes, and features. Especially, when established agile teams are misusing these terms. In this article at Medium, Constantin Guay states the difference between these terms.

Epics, Stories, Themes, and Features

If epics, stories, themes, and features become synonymous for a seasoned agile teammate, a newcomer can easily get confused. Clear the air of confusion between these terms here:

Epic vs. User Story: The Scrum Guide has allowed you to adjust rules as per situations. People misuse it by replacing one term for the other. Scrum’s product backlog items are divided into epics, stories, technical items, and bugs to make things better. It includes the desired features, functions, requirements, modifications, and fixtures you need to implement in the future product development stages. Each of them has a description, order, estimate, value, and definition of done. Alistair Cockburn originated the idea of user stories in 1998. In 2001, Ron Jeffries formulated Three C’s–“As…I want to…So that…” Kenneth S. Rubin clarifies in his book Essential Scrum that an epic is a huge user story that cannot fit into one sprint. Break an epic into smaller user stories that the teams can work on across several sprints.

Theme vs. Feature: When several user stories are related, they form a theme. This theme can also be called a feature. Usually Jira or Yodiz software applications group stories with similar functionalities in a single group and that are themes. The product management tool iceScrum rearranges associated stories. It changes the bigger ones into epic and smaller epics into user stories. Scrum masters usually go with the organizational definitions to minimize conflicts. Discuss with the team to decide how to categorize for epics, stories, themes, and features.

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