What is an Epic? Epic definition, advantages, and FAQs

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What is an Epic?

An epic can be understood as a large body of work that can be broken down into a number of smaller stories based on the requirements/requests of customers or end-users. Epics frequently embody a couple of teams on more than one initiative, and may also be tracked on more than one Kanban board.

Epics are mostly delivered over a set of sprints. Over time, through development and customer feedback, a team learns more about an epic and subsequently adds or removes user stories to it as necessary. 

This is the most important thing with agile epics: Scope is based on customer feedback and team cadence making it very flexible. 

Epics are an essential part of any agile and DevOps team. Epics go a long way in organizing the work and creating a hierarchical breakdown of the project. 

The basic idea of an epic is to break work down into manageable pieces so that large projects can actually get done on time and you can continue to provide value to your customers on a regular basis. Epics help teams manage their tasks down while continuing to work towards a bigger goal.

Advantages of Using Epics

  • A large project might seem like a fairly daunting task in its early stages. However, if the same project is subjugated into smaller pieces or tasks, it would not seem quite as intimidating as before. An epic effectively does the same thing, which is helpful in organizing a team’s goals and achieving them on time.
  • It becomes really easy to track the overall progress of the project. The more sophisticated features of the project could be understood and analyzed much better by breaking them down into smaller sprints.
  • The concept of hierarchy helps in structuring the core idea of the project.
  • Epics help to track multiple teams or projects at the same time without any disturbance in anyone’s work. This makes the project mechanism a lot more efficient. 
  • In backlog refinement, epics are quite useful in tracking the broad ideas of the project. The items that are no longer required from the product backlog can be very easily identified and subsequently eliminated.

FAQs

Q: What is the difference between epic and story in agile?

A: Stories, also called “user stories,” are written from the perspective of an end-user. They are short requirements or requests given by the user. Epics are the parent bodies that are broken down into a number of smaller tasks, called stories. 

Q: How Does an Epic Fit Into Agile Development?

A: An epic sits between a theme and a story in the agile development strategic hierarchy. Firstly, the team establishes a theme and then further breaks it down into epics, which can themselves be considered as smaller strategic plans.

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