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What is a Project?

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Scrum Master
How Do I Estimate?

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Module 5 – Useful Agile Tools   

Now that the core Scrum concepts have been covered, this module looks at some other concepts that exist in agile and scrum, including Value, Kanban, estimation and others.  This module is made up of Videos, followed by a quiz to help support your understanding.   

  • Agile concepts of Value  
  • Kanban  
  • Estimation & Relative Estimation 


Projects are a universal way of doing work, and you'll find them in every industry. But what is a project? Well, a project is a temporary endeavor, if you'd like, set to deliver a unique change. The key point here is that it has a clear start and end point. At the beginning of the project, we all need to understand what is most important. There are four key factors within any project to keep in mind when you're trying to understand what is most important to that project. First, the time. How long can we spend on this project? Next, how much money can we spend on delivering the project? After this, we have quality, and of course, the quality can vary. Finally, scope, and by scope, I mean specifically what the deliverables of the project will do or in other words, how many features it will have. Now, in Agile ways of working, we tend to believe that a large percentage of features that we deliver won't actually be used. So often, the safest variables to focus on is the scope. Now, there's a fantastic way to figure out just exactly how the scope might change, and it's a process called MOSCOW Prioritization. To help explain this in a little bit more detail, we've brought in one of our resident experts who has a lot of experience using MOSCOW to help Agile teams deliver projects successfully.


- MOSCOW is a tool that is used to prioritize a list of requirements or a list of tasks in order of value to the customer or the end user. So M within the MOSCOW acronym stands for must haves which are features or tasks that are critical, ie, without those tasks or features, that product or that service would not be viable. S stands for should have, which stands for a feature that is, if it were possible, it would be nice to have it included and will add some value to the business. C stands for could have, which is a feature or an aspect or a task that is not critical, but should there be enough time and budget, it would be good to have included so that they are nice to have. And then W stands for won't have. It's typically a requirement that was requested that is not deemed a high business value and neither is it deemed critically urgent, so it could easily be dropped off as in not done as part of the list of things to do. An example of where you could apply, a good of that example might be the sort of prioritization an event planner would undertake to plan a conference or plan an event. The event planner might list several tasks such as venue, procuring a venue for the event, might want that venue to be within half a mile radius of an underground station. Might also want to have doggy bags to give out branded materials to delegates who attend the event, might want to put on refreshments and part of those refreshments could include sandwiches, buffet, or alcohol, and so if you assume that the list that I have spoken about is ranked in the order that the event planner has in mind, then the venue would be a must have, for sure. You can't have an event without a venue, and ideally, most events I've been to are in close proximity to an underground station so those two criteria would be must haves, perhaps goody bags to be the should haves, because definitely they would be a very nice to have accompaniment to any event, and alcohol would be a won't have. Food would definitely have a higher priority, maybe sandwiches, at least, would be a higher priority than alcohol. So that would kind of be an example of how a MOSCOW prioritization approach might be applied by an event planner.


- So, projects are a universal idea used to deliver work. They tend to have four variable qualities, time, money, quality, and scope. In Agile projects, we use MOSCOW to ensure on time delivery. When a project becomes delayed or over budget, we reduce the scope instead of adding time or cost, and that allow us to guarantee on time delivery.



About the Author

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Paul Williams is a Senior Learning Consultant for QA, based in Manchester, UK. He is a member of the Agile, Lean & DevOps Trainer Team.