A Path Less Taken
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A Path Less Taken

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  • Independent. There are two ways to think of independent work items, with respect to forms of dependency. (a) Internal — Scrum teams in particular try to avoid having two tickets in the same Sprint, where one of those tickets can’t start until another ticket in the Sprint finishes; (b) External — Any dependencies that are external to the team are to be avoided, and if they can’t be avoided, it’s important to call such dependencies out and make sure their potential impact is clear.
  • Estimable. A work item is “estimable” when it is well enough understood that few if any open questions remain about it. If open questions do remain, those need to be addressed. Another reason to use the term “estimable” is that not all teams estimate. Thus “well-enough-understood” could serve as a synonym for estimable.
  • Small. Small work items are one of the enablers of steady flow of work to done. What “small” means in practice can vary from team to team. What small does NOT mean is any work item that takes more than about one to three days of touch time to complete.
  • Testable. Calling a work item testable is a different way of saying it’s clear when the work item is done. Having clear Acceptance Criteria for a work item is a common way to help ensure there is clarity about what sorts of tests need to pass.



This collection is for anyone who is looking for Lean-Agile content on a range of topics, with a particular focus on techniques that help with coaching and facilitation.

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Philip Rogers

I’m an Agile practitioner at TextNow — I love to work with Agile teams to help them collaborate and deliver, and have fun while doing it.