This is what we do.

There is a lot of debate about what technical work should be promoted to a story, and indeed I am presenting my own paper at Agile 2007 regarding this very topic in August this year. Work that arises and challenges us on a normal day to day basis does not need to be framed as a technical story. One particular area requiring technical stories seems to be in cleaning up code, but it is my belief that the team can deliver business value whilst cleaning up the code – because this is what we do.

As an engineer, as a software practitioner, I produce software out of the code I construct, and shaping code to achieve this is nothing less than part of the process. Maybe people feel that technical stories are needed because we could spend more than a day or so on the work, but I dont think its necessary. What happens if you are stuck on a piece of code thats giving you a terrible race condition and you cant spot it? Do you write a technical story for it and add it to the iteration? No, you simply work with the system employing whatever skills and tools you can to complete the feature you are working on. Race conditions, deadlocks, memory leaks, intermittent failures are nothing less than a genre of problem we face each day as engineers. Another genre would be changing the code, refactoring, evolving, re-designing. But we dont need technical stories for these things, because this is what we do

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