Starting with HCL Compass 2.0.1, we now ship a new schema and package called EssentialSAFe. You can use this schema to help your team follow Essential SAFe ® practices. More information about SAFe can be found on the Scaled Agile Framework® website. SAFe and Scaled Agile Framework are registered trademarks of Scaled Agile, Inc. In our last blog, Introducing an Essential SAFe® Schema and Package for HCL Compass 2.0.1, we introduced the release train and its supporting records, such as the Solution, Team, ProgramIncrement and Iteration records. In this blog we will introduce  you to the SAFe work items available in the EssentialSAFe schema.

Introduction

In the EssentialSAFe schema, there are three work items available to scope, plan and implement wonderful experiences in your solutions. They are the Feature, Story, and Task. These make up part of the SAFe Requirements Model, which is shown below:

Among the work items shown here, only the Feature and Story are available in Essential SAFe. In addition, the Task work item (optional in SAFe) can be used. Below we describe each of these, including how they get created.

Features

Feature work items are completed within a Program Increment (PI), which generally lasts 8-12 weeks. There are two types of features, a business feature and an enabler feature. Business features are created by Product Managers with assistance from Product Owners. Enabler features are created by System Architects and System Engineers and provide an Architectural Runway. To create a feature, use the New… menu in the upper left. Note – the menu will say New Query if you are using the sample EssentialSAFe database, because no default record type has been specified yet.

Work items in HCL Compass EssentialSAFe are stateful records. That means they follow a state model. The following diagram shows the states and actions available for a feature. This is the default and suggested flow, but you may skip over states as well. To enter a state, you would run the action pointing into it. For example, to enter the Implementing state from any state prior to it, you would use Implement action. To enter the Implementing state from any state after, you would use the ReImplement action.

When creating a new Feature, you are presented with the Feature form.

Here, you can define the Feature. You must at least set a Headline, Release Train, Priority, and Solution. To follow SAFe practices, you should add a Benefit Hypothesis and Acceptance Criteria on the Definition tab.

Here is an example Feature from the sample database:

Stories

Story work items are sized to be completed in an Iteration. Stories are often created by splitting up a feature in to chunks of work that can be completed during iterations within the PI. Once all a feature’s stories are complete and tested, it can be deployed. Stories might also get created during Iteration Planning or Retrospectives and might not be associated with a Feature. There are two ways you can create stories. One way is using the New… menu, which can be used to create any kind of Compass record.

On creation of a new story this way, you will see a form where you define the story. You must at least provide a Headline, Release Train, Priority, and Solution.

In addition, to follow SAFe practices, you should provide Acceptance Criteria on the Definition tab.

If you are splitting a feature into stories, there is a shortcut that will save you time. On the feature’s form, the Utilities->CreateStory action will create a new story under the feature.

Choosing this action will automatically populate many of the fields for you, such as the Release Train, Solution, Priority, Component, Feature and Program Increment.

The following diagram shows the states and actions available for a Story. This is the default and suggested flow, but you may skip over states as well. To enter a state, you would run the action pointing into it. For example, to enter the Work state from any state prior to it, you would use StartWork action. To enter the Work state from any state after, you would use the ReWork action.

Tasks

Tasks are small work items that new teams might use to split stories into smaller chunks. They are completed within a few days, but often finished in less than a day. Tasking stories is an optional practice in SAFe, but it can help new teams improve their sizing of stories and estimation of capacity. Like a Story, you can use the New… menu, but also like Story, there is a similar shortcut. Choose the CreateTask action on the Story form:

Since tasks are simpler work items, their state model is also simpler, with Submitted, Active, Validating and Closed states.

Wrapping up

We described the three work items available In HCL Compass EssentialSAFe schema. There are some shortcuts to help you break features into stories and stories into tasks, but you can also create these work items directly from the New menu.

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