Saturday, February 4, 2017

Moving my blog to a new home – Medium

Image result for moving to a new home

I have this blog on Blogspot for almost 5 years. For the last year I was publishing almost every post here and also in Medium. Today I’ve decided to finally stop publishing here and move all my publications to Medium.

Here is a link to my new blog - .

Feel free to follow me there and subscribe Smile

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 year in review

Image result for year in review 2017

2016 was a great year for me. And now, when it has almost ended, is a great opportunity to review it.

I will use last year’s format and talk about some of my achievements, future goals and this year’s reading list (it is in the end of the post).



This year I’ve written 10 posts on various topics. I’ve written almost 2 times less posts than last year, but some of my posts are way longer than my usual posts (the agile estimations series are 32 pages long!). This year the posts were less technical and they talked about management soft skills, self-improvement and leadership. These posts are hard to write. Despite that I think that this is the kind of posts that I should keep writing. However, I do want that some of my posts to be also technical.

2017: I want to write at least 12 posts. One post a month


My favorite posts of 2016


Public Speaking

This year I had a single public talk about website localization in a meetup (video will be up soon). It was great experience since I like presenting very much. I tend to present quite a lot internally in my company but no enough externally.

2017: I want to present at least 4 times at external meetups and conferences


I’ve done a lot this year. From leading different efforts and changes in the company to managing my project and day to day team responsibilities. Some of things went well and others are still in progress. I think that one of my strengths is the ability to execute and finish almost anything. This is all thanks to plenty of opportunities and guideless that allowed me to gain this experience. However, I think that my next step is not to keep executing lots of different efforts by myself. It is time to share the knowledge and start delegate my wishes to others, provide them with the different opportunities and guidance like that was given to me.

2017: I want to mentor others and help them make things happen


After 5 years I have finally finished my Computer Science degree. This is one the achievements that I’m happy that it is over, however I’m still proud I’ve done it. This year I’ve also learned React.js and its eco system.

In this year I want to learn a “big data” language, like R or Go or even Scala. I have a serious lack of knowledge when it comes to this area. I also want to learn the “electron” framework for creating desktop java script applications. And I want to strengthen my Node.js and React Native skills. They are not as strong as I want them to be.

2017: I want to learn a new programming language, Electron framework and strengthen my node.js and React Native skills. I want to build at least one project for each of this stack

Open source

This year I’ve contributed only once to an open source project (Polly, you can read about it in this post).

In this year I want to make a bigger contribution to the open source community.

2017: I want to contribute to at least 4 different open source projects.



This year was a hard year for me in terms of sports. Until May I was exercising like I was used too, 3-4 times a week in the gym and also running 10km 3 times a week. However, after the Mountain to Valley race, my knee was hurt and it forced me to stop exercising and running the way I wanted until now.

2017: I want to heal my knee and slowly come back to run at least 15km by the end of 2017




I commute to work by train. I hate traffic. It is enjoying and forces you to stay focused on the road, without almost any ability to concentrate on something else. On the train however, I can sit comfortably and do whatever I want. It is 40 minutes, twice a day when I can work, write, rest and of course read. So I try to leave this time for reading. This year I’ve managed to read 13 books this way and also read a lot of stuff online (1% top reader of Pocket Smile). I love reading both books and online posts, however the books I find the most satisfying and teaching. In the end of the post you can find my 2016 reading list.

2017: I want to read at least 13 books.


The best for last – 2016 reading list

I want to share with you the books I’ve read and recommend the top 3.


1. Managing humans 3rd edition

This is a must read book for every manager. It has great tips for almost every possible situation. I started to use many of his recommendations and I already see the results.



2. Zero to one

Very interesting book about the startup world. It focuses on the reasons for actually taking an idea and making it into a real product. It has a very unique view and it is written by one of the greatest enterpanures in the world.



3. The hard things about hard things

I’m sure that you heard at least someone recommend this book. It touches parts that no one else talks about. This book makes you think, a lot.


Here are the rest, I enjoyed all of them.

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Happy New Year everybody!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Weekly thoughts


Previously I’ve talked about the importance of a dedicated time for personal reflection, a retrospective of your life. This tool helps me to improve in all aspects of my life. However, my job is a huge part of my life – and I want to make sure that I also constantly improve in it. Moreover, I want to make sure that I constantly improve it. Therefore I’ve create a method that allows me to retrospect my work in all its aspects and, most importantly – to share it with my manager. I call it “Weekly Thoughts”.

Every Wednesday evening, I have a scheduled slot in my calendar for some time for myself (it has to be in your calendar, because what is not in your calendar doesn’t exist). I write it down in an email and then send it to my manager. Unlike an actual retro, I use a slightly different format:

  1. Things I’m excited about:
  2. Things I’m concerned about:
  3. Inbound
    1. What is working and we should keep doing
    2. What is not working for me
    3. Opportunities
  4. Outbound
    1. What is working and we should keep doing
    2. What is not working for me
    3. Opportunities
  5. People
    1. Opportunities
  6. Recruiting
  7. What concerns my manager and how I can help him

As you can see, the format is different from a regular retro. The main reason is that it isn’t only a retro. Retro is a method for reflecting previous events. However, this method has several other purposes.

What is on your mind?


I call it “weekly thoughts” on purpose. Look at the first two points: “Things I’m excited about” and “Things I’m concerned about”. Unlike a usual retro, I’m not looking for action items; I just try to understand what’s made me tick this week and what’s stopped me from ticking. It can be a cool feature that I delivered, a meetup that I’ve hosted or a simple conversation that made my week. Things that make you tick, that make you happy during the day, are worth mentioning. It is easy to talk about the bad stuff – I want to cherish the good stuff, too.

The things I’m concerned about, on the other hand, I do want to address. So sometimes I’ll create personal action items for them. However, sometimes I don’t know how to treat something – like if one of my team members is leaving, or if a decision takes too long to approve.

Those things are on my mind. They concern me. For good and for bad. There is someone who should know about them: my manager. I schedule the time for my weekly thoughts on a Wednesday since it is the day before my 1 on 1 with him. This allows me to be more prepared for our meeting and also allows him to better understand me. Weekly thoughts is such a powerful tool because it allows me to share the full context of my work with my manager.

Don’t keep your thoughts to yourself. Share, ask for advice or direction.

What is your role in the manager-employee relationship?


There is an important truth that all of us sometimes forget.

We are not the only concern of our managers

They also have goals and tasks that do not necessarily concern us. Decisions that they want to take, some efforts they are pushing and, of course, tasks from their own manager. I’ve realized along the way that the fact I have a manager doesn’t mean this is a one-way relationship. I can help him as much as he helps me. I want my manager to succeed in his goals as much as he wants me to succeed in mine.

Therefore I have a special part in my format that is dedicated for the things that concern my manager and ways I can help him.

What happens in other aspects of your job?


“Job” is a short word (so is “work”) that has many parts, aspects and responsibilities – so when I say that I want to improve my work, I want to improve it in all of its parts. I choose to divide my job into 4 aspects:

Inbound, outbound, people and recruiting (I know that in the future this format will change, since I’ll have more or different responsibilities. But it works for now).

I want to separately focus on each part, and try to see what “works for me” and what doesn’t. Each of these parts deserves its own retro.

In the inbound part, I focus on my team. How is our communication? How can we increase velocity? Are we happy? Do we celebrate wins? Do we achieve our goals, and so on.

In the outbound part, I focus on everything that is external to my team. The interfaces with our stakeholders, the product owner, peers and other teams in R&D, and the company in general. Does our work hurt them? How can we share our knowledge with them? And how can we improve our process?

The people part may seem unnecessary since I already have the “inbound” part. However, my team members deserve a focused and dedicated part just for them. In the inbound section I think mostly about us as a team, a group of people who work together and can do it better. In the “people” part, I try to better understand every one individually. What makes them tick, what concerns them and how can I help them?

The last part is recruiting. Not only is recruiting a very important responsibility, it also requires a lot of time and attention. Therefore it has a dedicated part in my format, in order to see what works for me in the recruiting process and what doesn’t. Where do I and all the other recruiters waste time that shouldn’t be wasted? And what methods I find better than others.

What opportunities are you missing?


You can see that in almost every section there is an “Opportunities” part. Here I try to think a little about the future. What we should start doing now in order to improve or be ready for in the near-future. This is very powerful, since we rarely think about the future. We are so focused on today’s “fire” and tomorrow’s delivery that we basically never think about the opportunities we might be missing. By the way, you will need to miss some of those opportunities for whatever important reason. But there is a big difference when you knowingly miss opportunities and when you simply miss them because you are not aware of them in the first place.


My first job was at the age of 12 (I washed the stairs of my building), and since then I have worked almost all the time – after school, in the summer, during my military service (I consider my army duty as a software engineer as work) and now. So for the last 13 years I’ve been constantly working. I have learned that if you try to think further ahead, constantly try to improve yourself and your surroundings, and share your thoughts with your manager, you will gain two very important things: Change and Trust.

Think about it ;)

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Estimations​ ​in​ ​Agile development​ ​-​ ​Improving Estimations​ ​using​ ​Burndown, Burnup​ ​and​ ​Actual​ ​Time metrics


This is the fourth and the last post in the Estimations in Agile development series.

  1. Epics, User Stories and Tasks

  2. Estimating User Stories with Story Points

  3. Sprint Planning Methods: Capacity vs. Velocity vs. Feature 

  4. Improving Estimations using Burndown, Burnup and Actual Time metrics (you are here)

In the previous post we’ve discussed the different methods for the sprint planning and the benefits of using absolute units like hours for estimating small efforts in a known time frame - the sprint.

In this post we’ll see some metrics that will help us verify and improve our estimations over time and even allow us to predict whether we’ll achieve our long term goals.



After we finish estimating all the tasks we can create a rough estimation regarding the amount of work that has to be done (according to the daily capacity) in order to finish all the tasks on time.

The green line displays that available capacity for a current day. In other words – we need to make sure that our remaining work for the sprint is below the green line. Otherwise we won’t complete all the tasks on time.

Each day developers should update the “remaining work” field for their tasks – how much time is left for finishing the task. That metric will allow us to know whether we’ll finish all the estimated tasks or not.

The burndown might go up when new tasks are added or new information is discovered during the sprint.

The remaining work should be updated daily and the team should look at the chart in the daily stand up meeting. In this event we can easily see that our estimation are not correlating with our actual performance. The impact is clear: if the team proceeds with the current phase they won’t finish all the planned tasks for the sprint on time. Hence the user won’t receive a working product.

In this very moment the team should decide on the action to make the chart to convergent.

They can decide on giving some extra work to close the gap or perhaps remove the least prioritized task from the sprint – this is of course done with the product manager who is the stakeholder of the sprint.

The burndown chart is a daily feedback tool. it is effective only when it is updated on a daily basis. it is also another reason why I think one should use hours and not story points for the sprint’s tasks. when working with story points you don’t update the remaining time - you don’t change 3 SP tasks to 1 SP task, you simply work on it until it’s done. This way the burndown will not reflect your actual progress daily and it will be hard to understand if you are on track.

Actual vs. Estimated - Improving the team’s estimations

Even in a two weeks sprint we cannot know everything. Something will always surprise us. A larger than estimated task, an external requirement, un-expected technical support and more. Sometimes there is absolutely nothing we can do about it, however sometimes we can learn from these unaccurate estimations and correct them in the future. Therefore I suggest another metric which purpose is to compare our initial estimations to our actual performance.

After finishing a task, the team member will fill another field “Actual Work” with the actual time that took him to complete the task. This way we’ll create another graph that will compare the planned estimation to the actual one,  Allowing us to see which tasks were underestimated, overestimated and which were exactly as we predicted. Our purpose is to minify the gap between the actual and the estimated. ”why did the task take longer/less than we estimated? Could we do something in order to predict it?”  This graph is a great topic to start the retro meeting with.


Predicting the future with Burnup chart

The burndown chart allows us to monitor only a single and the current sprint. It allows the team a clear view on their progress in the sprint. However, it doesn’t tell if the team if the whole project is on track or will they finish it on time? Every stakeholder and manager wants to know when will the project, milestone or a release be ready.  It is hard to predict a date 3-6 months into the future. Any estimations for this feels like a hunch. “Well, we have 3 months left and 2 more big features, so I guess will make it on time”. How can we monitor our progress on a ~weekly basis?

Actually we can predict all this using our previous progress. Let’s say we are 4 sprints in (2 months) in a 6 months project. Will we make it on time? To answer this we need only 2 things:

  1. Estimated backlog (Epics/ user stories with their SP values)

  2. The Team’s average velocity

Average Velocity is the amount of story points that we finish in each sprint divided by the number of sprints (those who read the previous post probably understand that this metric won’t be too accurate but it is enough for this purpose).

Team’s average velocity for the last 4 sprints = (10 +8 + 6 +11)/ 4 = ~9.

The beauty of the team’s average Velocity is that it gets more accurate with every sprint. Therefore if we know the end date (4 months from now) and the average velocity, then we can predict how many story points the team will finish by that time.

We’ll take the previous chart and we’ll turn it into a cumulative

Now, based on the average velocity we can calculate how much SP we’ll finish in the future sprints.

All the data on the right of the black line (the present sprint) is predicted based on actual data from the previous sprints. You can see that after 12 sprints the team will finish ~110 Story Points. If the total required amount is 100-110 then it seems that we have the right velocity and we’ll finish the project on time.  But we all know that the above chart is too good to be true. The below one is probably more realistic:

This chart is called burnup and it allows a clear, data driven, look at the future. Based on this data the team, and everyone else, knows that the project won’t be ready on time. The velocity should be higher, the ETA should move or the project scope should change. Either way -this is not a hunch.



In this post we’ve seen 3 ways to improve our estimations and predictability. The actual vs. estimated is the best tool to verify and improve your estimations over time and the burnup will let you know you need to speed up your development, even if you finish all sprints on time. The key is to constantly check yourself and improve.

In this series we covered lots of topics regarding Agile development and estimations. It is important to remember that there is no “right” way to do Agile. There are common fundamentals but different teams should use and adopt the principles and process that suits them best. And remember that nothing is constant -  something that used to be “right” for you then, may not be right anymore. So keep retroing yourself and your process, keep fine tune it all the time and I hope that you’ll find what is best for you.

Feel free to share and comment.

Estimations in Agile development – Epics, User Stories and Tasks

Estimations in Agile development – Estimating User Stories with Story Points

Estimations in Agile development – Sprint Planning Methods: Capacity vs. Velocity vs. Feature

Estimations in Agile development - Improving Estimations using Burndown, Burnup and Actual time metrics (you are  here)

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Estimations in Agile development – Sprint Planning Methods: Capacity vs. Velocity vs. Feature


This is the third post in the Estimations in Agile development series.

  1. Epics, User Stories and Tasks

  2. Estimating User Stories with Story Points

  3. Sprint Planning Methods: Capacity vs. Velocity vs. Feature  (you are here)

  4. Improving Estimations using Burndown, Burnup and Actual Time metrics

In the previous posts we’ve learned how to breakdown features to epics, user stories to tasks, and how to estimate epics and user stories. We talked about the three prioritization cycles and their importance, and why relative units like story points work better than time based units like ideal days.

In this post I want to focus on the sprint and on the meeting that starts the sprint – the sprint planning. I’ll show you why technical tasks, unlike epics and user stories, should be estimated in time based units like hours.

The Purpose of the Sprint

A sprint’s purpose is to deliver value to a user and receive feedback. If by the end of the sprint, a user doesn’t receive any value or the team doesn’t receive any feedback for their work, the sprint wasn’t successful. Only after seeing real working features, a user can tell that they are, indeed, what he needs.

A “user story” shares the exact same purpose – deliver a value to a user, that means that we should be able to accomplish at least a single user story in a sprint.

Capacity planning vs. Velocity planning vs. Feature planning

The top user story in the backlog is the one that we need to deliver first since it is the most valuable to the user. But how do we know if that user story actually fits into a single sprint?

There are 3 methods to decide how many user stories can fit in a sprint:

  1. Feature Planning

  2. Velocity Planning

  3. Capacity Planning

Let’s drill down to each of those methods.

Feature planning

This method basically states that by the end of the sprint, a chosen feature(user story) must be ready. This method is usually used when the team has a deadline that cannot be changed like a commitment for stakeholders or an external constraint. The team will literally do whatever it takes to accomplish the feature. Including long hours and even weekends. The team will not be able to keep up with this for long.
Avoid using this method if possible. However if the company does work like this, then it is important to take the right buffers and plan ahead in order to remove the dependency between the external and the internal dates.

Velocity planning

Velocity planning method uses the team’s average ‘velocity’ in order to determine the amount of user stories for the sprint.

Velocity is a metric that defines the amount of story points a team accomplishes in a single sprint.
For example, if a team finished a total of 10 story points 2 sprints ago and another 10 story points in the last sprint, then its velocity is 10 story points.
When planning based on previous velocity, in the upcoming sprint the team should take user stories with total of 10 story points.

This method is obviously better than the previous one. However this method is not accurate enough for a two weeks sprint resolution.

The velocity based planning is relying on addition of relative units – story points. The problem with adding these values is that 1SP + 2SP != 3SP.

A story point is a relative unit that describes a story’s complexity relatively to another story (X is 2 times harder than Y). This unit is great for comparing stories and deciding on their priority, however a 2SP task doesn’t equal to two 1SP tasks. As a matter of fact, 2SP task doesn’t necessarily take the same amount of time that as another 2SP task.

Let’s assume that our project is already running for 10 sprints. We could look back at every user story in every sprint and give it the actual time it took. This will allow us to convert story points to time. Let’s say that after that calculation 1SP is equal to an average of 12 hours.


*Agile Estimating and Planning by Mike Cohn page 162

As you can see that despite the fact that the average is 12, we had tasks that took less and some that took more. The standard deviation becomes bigger as the SP number value is higher (some 3SP tasks will take 30 hours while others may take 45 -50% more). It should not be a surprise – after all 2SP states that it is 2 times more complex than 1SP task, it doesn’t mean that every time it will take twice as long.

Therefore if you plan your sprint using velocity don’t be surprised if some of the tasks take longer than others although they have the same SP value, and that you won’t finish all the planned tasks by the end of the sprint.

Capacity Planning

There are many unknowns when we try to plan months ahead (like in the beginning of the project). However things are different then we plan a sprint (which is only 1-4 weeks long). There are several known facts that allow us to plan more accurately:

  1. A sprint’s length is constant (read here why) it can be 1 -  4 weeks longs. Either way it is known, hence we know how many working days there are in the sprint.

  1. We also know of how many working hours are there in a single day of a sprint.

  1. And we also know how many team members to we have.

For example in a 2 week sprint we have 10 work days, 9 hours a day and 4 team members. 10 X 9 X 4 = 360 hours.

However we don’t actually have 360 hours right? What about all the meetings? The days off and other known wastes.
We know most of our wastes when we plan for 2 weeks ahead. We also know another thing – we don’t actually work 9 hours a day, take off lunch, breaks, vacations, support hours and other context switches and it will be more like 6.
Each team member can easily calculate his capacity by simply looking at his calendar, so in order for the total capacity to be accurate, a sprint capacity calculation should consider every team member individually.

That is the sprint capacity (for a 1 week sprint).

The capacity represents the absolute amount of work that the team can handle in hours. The sprint’s capacity is like an empty glass which size is determined by the team members working time (also hours).

The size of the glass is in hours, therefore in order to fill it we also need to use hours. Unlike big features, epics or user stories which are hard to estimate, tasks should be well defined and should require a relatively small effort (no longer than 3 days). The tasks estimation is created using poker planning

After estimating the first task we add it to our sprint backlog and basically “fill the glass” a little.

We can see that we haven’t reached our capacity yet. Therefore we can keep estimating until we’ll reach it.

We had successfully filled our time with…time! Before the planning we have removed all the known potential wastes and therefore we have a pretty good reason to believe that we’ll complete all the tasks in the sprint on time.

We could wait for the end of the sprint and find out whether our estimations were correct, or we could use some useful metrics to verify daily that we are on track.
We could also use some other metrics that will allow us to improve our estimations over time, and for the grand finale, we can use a very special metrics that will help us to predict the future.

Read about all that and more in the next and the last post of this series.

Estimations in Agile development – Epics, User Stories and Tasks

Estimations in Agile development – Estimating User Stories with Story Points

Estimations in Agile development – Sprint Planning Methods: Capacity vs. Velocity vs. Feature  (you are here)

Estimations in Agile development - Improving Estimations using Burndown, Burnup and Actual time metrics (go here)

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Estimations in Agile development – Estimating the Backlog with Story Points

This is the second post in the Estimations in Agile development series.

  • Epics, User Stories and Tasks
  • Estimating User Stories with Story Points (you are here)
  • Sprint Planning Methods: Capacity vs. Velocity vs. Feature
  • Improving Estimations using Burndown, Burnup and Actual time metrics


    In the previous post I’ve introduced the different product backlog items, their hierarchy and scope.

    In this post we’ll learn how to estimate user stories using story points. I’ve introduced the videos website project that I’m building. This is its current epics backlog:

  • 1

    Story points

    We need to estimate those epics, but how? The trivial option is time. We usually estimate effort in time “It takes two hours to get to Tel Aviv”, “The renovations will be over in a week”. However, it is extremely hard to estimate long term effort in time.

    Let’s look at the first epic Allow users to find, play and comment on videos. This is obviously a lot of work. It is more than a week and probably less than a year. Every time driven estimation won’t be accurate. It is hard to estimate accurately something that is longer than a week. Months? Impossible. We need something else.

    When estimating long term effort we should use a more relative unit like size or complexity.

    These units allow us to easily compare features by their size or complexity. “This one is 2 times bigger/more complicated than this one”. It allows to easily separate the complex features from the easy features or from the small ones to the large features.

    Since the units are relative to one another we can choose any numeric representation that we want. We only have to stay consistent while using it.

    It can be 1,2,3 story points when 1 is super easy and 2 is harder, or 10, 20, 30… . It doesn’t really matter and that is the beauty in story points. Personally I prefer reflecting size in story points. “How long does it take to get from Tel Aviv to Herzelia? Same as getting from Tel Aviv to Holon which is 2 (some relative representation of this size)”.

    Another option is ideal days. “How many days will it take if the days have absolutely no distractions?” The problem in this way is that yet again it is time based and we suck in estimating long term in any time based method. Hence it is not recommended.

    Prioritize, estimate and prioritize again

    The backlog will be constantly prioritized and changed due to business requirement, estimations and new discoveries along the way.

    In order to properly prioritize we need to have the business prioritization along with the estimated R&D effort. Usually it will take 3 rounds:

    1. The first one is a “business prioritization” round. The product manager will prioritize the epics based on their business values. What feature does the user must have first?
    2. The second round is a “technical effort estimation” round. The R&D will go through the list of epics and spot the ones with the highest level of uncertainty and risks. We don’t want to leave the unknowns to the end – we want to tackle them from the beginning in order to increase our level of certainty in the required effort. Unknown effort usually is a big effort, hence its story points value will be big.
      The recommendations epic has many uncertainties like introducing intersects into the system and understanding what videos the user will actually want to watch. It seems like it is 3 times bigger effort than the other two epics. We’ll estimate it with a value of 30 while the other epics are 10. The cool part is that it doesn’t have to be “3 times bigger” it can be 5 or 10 times bigger. It is relative. It means that a new epic will have an estimation that is relative to the previous ones: is it “more like” the big one (30) or more like the first one (10).
    3. The third and last one is the “business prioritization” round again. This time the product manager sees the required effort for all the epics and decides whether some of the highly estimated epics should be moved higher or lower in the backlog. Perhaps if a feature is so difficult to implement then it shouldn’t be implemented at all. Our product manager is fine with our estimations and he decides to leave the epic in its current priority. The first two are more valuable than the recommendations.

    This is our current estimated backlog:


    Estimating User Stories

    The epics are prioritized and estimated. Now what? We can start all the epics simultaneously but then it will take us much longer to finish the first one as opposed to focusing only on the first epic. Keep in mind that every epic has a real value to the user hence we want to decrease the time to market of every epic. In order to achieve that we must strive to start only a single epic at a time. There is a great phrase that one of my managers used to tell “stop starting – start finishing”. We should strive to focus on the most important feature first. Finish it and only then move to the next one. The feedback that we’ll get from real users might change our initial priorities.

    Now it’s time to split the first epic to user stories. We’ve done it already in the previous post:


    The estimation process of user stories is identical to the epics. User stories also give actual value to the user, hence we need to deliver the feature with the most value first. Watching videos in a video library application is probably more important than commenting or searching (without videos to search or comment on).

    Now it is time for technical estimations round using story points – same as before. In this case the first user story is bigger than the other two since this is the first feature. We need to build the application’s first screens, create the project, build continuous deployment (hell yeah! From the start) and allow to actually watch videos.


    *If you try to add up the estimations you won’t reach 10. That’s alright since 2 SP and 1 SP are not equal to 3 SP. In the next posts we’ll talk about ways to sum estimated effort in a more precise way.

    The filter user story has the smallest estimation since it has no persistence complexity and it feels like less effort than the other features.

    If a user story receives a big estimation then it is a sign that we don’t understand it well enough or perhaps it is just too big as a single feature. In both cases the best practice is to split it to 2 or more user stories while every user story will give actual value to the user. That is exactly what I meant in my previous post when I mentioned that epics split to themes and only then to user stories. Since this is our first estimations round we still don’t know what a too big estimation is. In the next post we’ll learn how to define our limit and by doing so define when we should break the user story further more.

    Time for the last business round of prioritization. This round is the most important one since it determines the next feature that the R&D will work on and that the user will see.

    After we’ll complete it and deliver it to the user we’ll receive feedback that might change these priorities. This is good. Our job is to deliver what the user wants. Having a real product at his hands might change some of his first assumptions. This is why the prioritization will happen again and again. Along with the priorities the estimations will also change. Something that we thought was 2 S.P. appeared to be much easier or much harder and it is no longer should be like other 2 S.P. user stories. It may sound depressing to constantly re-prioritize and re-estimate the backlog, however, this is the only way it will truly reflect the product.


    Starting the sprint

    We know the user story that we should work meaning we are ready to start our sprint. The sprint starts with a “sprint planning meeting”. In this meeting the team splits the user story to technical tasks and estimates them.

    Should we also use story points for estimating tasks?

    How do we know that we filled our team’s capacity?

    What is capacity?

    How do we improve our estimations?

    All that and more in the next post.


    Estimations in Agile development – Epics, User Stories and Tasks

    Estimations in Agile development – Estimating User Stories with Story Points (you are here)

    Estimations in Agile development – Sprint Planning Methods: Capacity vs. Velocity vs. Feature  (go here)

    Estimations in Agile development - Improving Estimations using Burndown, Burnup and Actual time metrics

  • Saturday, August 13, 2016

    This is what I read

    I read a lot. I think that reading is one of most important activities one can do in order to improve and become better.


    I share most of what I read on my Twitter account. Recently more and more people ask me where I find the stuff I read. So I decided to share with you my sources.

    There are 5 main sources where I constantly find great articles, videos and posts:

    1. Feedly – here I keep my blog roll (you can find the full list in the end of this post). It is a simple RSS reader where I subscribe to the blogs that are the most relevant to me and which I want to be up to date with their content. if I land on a good post in an unfamiliar blog, I go through the last 3-4 posts and if most of the content is actually good and relevant, then I add the blog to Feedly.

    2. Twitter – unlike Facebook, that is full of my friends posts (and pictures), in Twitter I follow business newspapers, tech news, engineering content, leading CEO’s and tech world “celebrities”.

    Netanel Lev wrote once a post describing the difference between Twitter and Google Reader (like Feedly) - Twitter is my radio station, Google Reader is my disc player! This post describes perfectly the difference between a RSS reader that has predictable content that you have chosen like music on a CD (Yes I know, that is an old post Smile). And Twitter, that is unpredictable and “every new tweet is a song that maybe I like or not”.

    3. Pocket recommendationsPocket is my favorite and most used app. I keep there everything I find interesting, in order to read it later, when I have time. Another cool Pocket feature is a recommendations feed that is created by different members of the Pocket community (the content that they recommend to others, and by Pocket itself using personalization mechanisms). The more you read the better recommendations Pocket will provide for you.

    4. Software Lead Weekly – this is a weekly mailing list created by Oren Ellenbogen. It aggregates great articles and videos regarding tech, leadership, startups and engineering culture.

    5. Books! Posts, articles, videos, tweets are great way to learn new things and be updated with what happens in the world. However, if you wish to master something and become a true expert you have to read books. A post by some expert can get you this far, but a whole book that is written by that same expert will teach you whole lot more. This post has a list of 95 books in various topics that are probably relevant to you. This is a great place to start building your library.


    I think that you should have at least 2 sources (besides reading books):

    (1) A blog roll that you have picked based on your interests (you can use any RSS reader, Feedly is my choice).

    (2) “An unpredictable radio” – Twitter, Pocket, Medium and more in order to be exposed to new sources and things you didn’t know that exist.


    Keep reading!


    As promised here is my blog roll:


    1. - Short posts of great tips in .NET and Visual Studio

    2. - .NET news

    3. - a friend of mine who writes about .NET related stuff

    4. (podcast)  - no need to listen to all of the episodes – pick the ones that you feel are relevant to you


    6. - Oren Eini, one of the best developers in Israel (some say that in the world). He used to write about .NET low level stuff but now most of his posts are about RavenDB (his product - .NET based DB), Sometimes he shares some bugs that they had and more interesting stuff

    7. - Visual studio blog posts

    8. - Visual Studio news

    9. . NET announcements

    10. -new features in the NET world


    1. a blog with several great writers: the creator of AutoMapper, CQRS and event Sourcing experts and more

    2. - The one and only Martin Fowler.

    3. - Head of WIX backend. He writes about software solutions, architecture and management

    4. - The best Israeli Hebrew blog.




    Tech stuff:

    1. - Scott Hanselman’s blog

    2. - Scott Hanselman’s podcast

    3. - Hebrew Tech podcast. My favourite episodes are “Bumpers” – one hour of 2-3 minutes short discussion about variety of technology topics like frameworks, tools, announcements , posts and more 

    4. - Yossi Shmueli’s blog


    1. - Used to work in Spotify and now in Lego!! Greatposts about agile, lean and culture

    2. - Joel Spolsky the creator of Stack Overflow and Trello. Worth following him on Twitter.

    3. - Moti Karmona’s blog

    4. - culture and leadership – software oriented

    5. - Hebrew podcast about management

    6. - The BEST Hebrew podcast! It’s about startups. They interview the biggest Israeli CEO’s, CTO’s and enterpanures about their startups success or failure.

    7. - Podcast regarding the culture in different organizations and startups

    8. - Netanel Lev’s blog

    9. - Shani Raba’s blog


    11. – time management tips

    12. Alon Pakash’s blog


    1. - 10 minutes podcast episodes about the latest libraries and feature in JS.

    2. - Hebrew blog

    Tech companies blogs:

    1. - Wix blog

    2. - Facebook blog - Priceless!!!!

    3. - Spotify

    4. - Airbnb


    6. - Twitter

    7. - Github

    8. - Instagram

    9. - Pinterest

    10. - Netflix