Mingle for Agile Software Development

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For a long time, I’ve been looking for a decent system to manage Second Rotation’s user stories. I have to say, I’ve been very impressed with Mingle. Last week, I worked on refining the story statuses for the life cycle of a user story once it is slated for an iteration. Here’s what we came up with:

  • Awaiting Information - the engineering team is waiting on the stakeholder for information
  • Ready For Development - the developer assigned the user story has all the information needed to commence work
  • In Progress - the developer is working on the user story
  • Ready for Staging - the developer has finished work on the user story, and it’s ready to be sent to our staging environment
  • Staged - the story has been sent to our staging environment and is ready for testing
  • Ready for Deployment - the story has been validated, both from a QA and stakeholder’s perspective. This means the user story is green lighted for production
  • Complete - the story has been deployed to production

The value of defining these statuses within Mingle is the ability to define transitions. For example, I can report to stakeholders an average delay per user story because I track when a story enters and exits the Awaiting Information status. I can also track how well a developer is fulfilling requirements. If a user story is consistently Staged and then reverted to In Progress, This is all done automatically as the story owner moves it through the life cycle we’ve created.

Another huge analytic - I’ll be able to track estimation quality by comparing planning estimates to the duration of a story having the status of “In Progress”

Eventually, I want to refine these story statuses to reflect what’s done before a user story is assigned to an iteration.

One thing I wish Mingle had that causes a major gap in my regular status reports is the ability to correlate many user stories to a project. Business stakeholders do not usually respond well to a long list of stories, so being able to report status on a project by project basis would be ideal. Thoughtworks (the developers of Mingle) reports that this will be a feature in an upcoming release.

If you’re managing an Agile Software Development project, I highly recommend you check out Mingle.

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