An example Feature Card
- Card Color: Using a simple color priority scheme (e.g. red, yellow, green) can help teams decide the order of features to work on based on their priority in the backlog or any dependencies that exist between them.
- Title: In this case “Jump”.
- Description: Very often written in a User Story format. This briefly describes the feature from the point of view of the user, such as the player .
- Acceptance criteria: While planning an iteration, teams will capture some unique aspects of the feature that will need to be tested. For example, it might be important to the product owner that the blending of animations be smooth and without popping. Someone, usually a tester, will write this criteria the back of the card to remind the team to test the feature to ensure there is no popping while jumping.
- Start and End Dates: It’s useful to capture the day when the team starts working on a feature and when it’s done. As mentioned in the article about Feature Boards, it’s not best to work on too many features in parallel during an iteration. Using the dates will allow a team to measure how much work in progress is occurring during the iteration. I’ll describe how this is used in an upcoming article on Feature Board Burndown Charts.
- Estimates: As a part of iteration planning, each discipline will discuss the plan for implementing their portion of the feature and may want to capture some time estimates. Some teams use hours, some days, while some teams will skip estimates altogether. Capturing discipline estimates rather than individual estimates increases collaboration among members of the same discipline. These estimates are used to track whether an individual discipline is at capacity or not while features are planned. For example, if a team is finding that the sum of all animation work across all features adds up to more time than their one full-time animator can handle, they’ll find another animator to help them or they’ll change which features they commit to.
- Tasks: Tasks captured during planning or during the iteration can be annotated on the card with smaller post-its or, by using larger cards, be written on the cards themselves. If you use post-its, make sure you use the brand name ones with the good glue!
- Card Size: Feature cards are usually written on a 3x5 or 4x6 index card.