Themes, Epics, Stories, Task they are all driving me crazy!

9:35 AM

One of the things that brings more confusion  is the relation of concepts between "tasks", "stories", "epics", and "themes". And maybe more important why are they useful? and how can we use them for product development?.

The following diagram tries to explain one flow that is used in many companies:
From the product vision to the story creation.

Are there any more flows?
Yes, for example if you have already a product you can create a flow of improvements based on problems, or a flow to find new ideas or features.

In this flow you start with  a product vision, this will determine all our work. Our goal would be to create that incredible product that is in our mind and that will bring customers, or money, or whatever you set your goal to.

Based on the product vision you can start creating themes. Themes have the highest level of abstraction, they define real descriptions of the product; things that you can find in a press release for example. They are big,  broad features that will make your product glow in the dark and are the main points that you want to sell, for example:

 "Product X will fit in your pocket" 

From the Themes, we create Epics. The Epics are a level lower of abstraction and represent a way to complete the Theme, again, they represent a possible solution. There may be different ways to complete a Theme and you might have a lot of Epics that represent ways to reach your goal. 

Once you have the Epics you need to divide them and make them as small as possible so that your development team can work with them, for this you create Stories.

Stories are really important for the development team.  They are actually small stories of solutions involving your users, they could be real users or predefined users like "Personas".  Again,  you can have different stories that could solve the main problem in different ways.

Finally, Tasks are all those things that your team needs to do. They are the actual work, most of the time they are really technical and are best understood by your development team.

As an extra note do not forget that not all of the stories and epics or even themes will be done. You are trying different paths and some of those will not work or there won't be any time to do them. It is ok. The idea is to create your product and reach your goal. The path to follow will be changing over time. Be prepared for change!.