Breaking user stories down to actionable subtasks and estimating them isn’t just a best practice in software development — it’s critical!

It lets you:

  • understand how much effort is required to complete a subtask,
  • help prioritize user stories, and
  • assist in planning how you can parallelize work and ship your feature faster.

For the longest time, managers had to mentally calculate estimation points for all subtasks to understand the effort required for a user story and repeat it for every subtask in every single user stories. Or they had to learn and run fancy query language on an already bloated tool, to plan the next steps for their software development.

For something so critical, it would be an understatement to say the processes used so far is tedious and taxing.

This process needs to be improved in a way that lets you spend more time actually building the feature!

The latest updates in Zepel is all about helping you achieve just that!

Aggregated Soft Estimates: Get greater context of your feature development

Aggregated Soft Estimates in Zepel is exactly what you think it does.

Every time you add an estimate to a subtask, the estimation points get aggregated to the item and shows how much effort is required to complete it. This value also aggregates to the respective Section and all the way to the Feature.

And when your teammates complete a few, the aggregated estimate updates to reflect that change, so you know what’s happening.

Zepel Estimation Points
Estimation points aggregate from Subtask to Item, to Section, to the whole Feature

And since these aggregated estimates are soft estimates, you can override them by explicitly setting your own estimate to an item. When you do this, the overridden estimate will be taken into account for the rest of the aggregation.

What does this mean for your day-to-day work?

The form-based interface you see in simple issue trackers and project management tools lets you focus on only one item at a time.

Zepel’s interface not only lets you focus on the things you care about, but also makes it effortless take a step back and get greater context.

Here’s how your team can benefit daily:

  1. Developers can immediately get a context of how much effort a user story requires.
  2. Managers can use this aggregated soft estimate to understand the complexity involved in an item.
  3. If you’ve broken down your feature into multiple Sections and grouped user stories under them, you can now see how much effort is required to build your feature in phases.
  4. You can use this information to prioritize key work and see how you can parallelize work to get your feature out faster.

Improved Feature Progress: For an accurate understanding of your feature development

With the introduction of aggregated estimates, how your feature’s progress is calculated also gets a boost. That means it doesn’t just show you many items you’ve completed vs how many are open.

Starting today, Progress in Zepel will take into account the estimation points to calculate your feature’s progress.

So, if you don’t estimation points for some, Zepel will take its value as one and use the estimation points you’ve set for the other items to show you how much progress your team has made with the feature.

Create Multiple Features: Plan for the road ahead

While Progress gave teams an overview of the progress of a feature as a whole, it also gave managers an easy way to communicate roadmap and priorities. All they had to do was add duration to specific features and drag-and-drop the highest priority feature at the top of the Todo column.

And this acted as the command centre for the entire team.

To make this easier, starting today, you can create multiple Features and continue to plan your next steps from the Progress tab.

All you have to do is, click on the “+” icon from next the column name and enable the “Create multiple Features” toggle. Make sure you type only one feature name per line in the text box.

Create multiple Features to plan Roadmap using Zepel
Creating multiple features in Zepel to quickly plan next steps

The latest updates are only the beginning of more updates to come to help you build features together. Go ahead, give it a spin, and drop us a line with your feedback.