With the DevOps group mentioned in an earlier post, we also decided to not use Agile stories (as a …, I want to …, so that …). Instead we decided to create “blueprints” that we augmented over time. The team took an iterative approach to adding functionality, often starting with a basic blueprint and then writing a new one to build on the functionality of the first one. The blueprints weren’t assigned story points; the team would take on 2-3 blueprints that they thought they could complete in a week — blueprints could take more than a week to implement though it was rare.
For example, the team’s very first blueprint was to build a POC completely manually, which the team was able to demo one week later. For the next demo they built on that by adding automated windows builds. We found that this process lined up well with the concepts of iterative development and progressive elaboration by allowing the team to refine and improve as the business goals themselves became clearer.