Note: This is the third post in a series of four posts on how we use Shortcut for the Product Management of Shortcut. For other posts in the series check out the links at the end of the post!
Given that Stories, at their most basic definition, represent a standard unit of work, we could (and should) talk about how we use them, at considerable length. For example, how do we use them for feature requests? How do we use them for bug reports? How do we use them for non-product specific work?
We’re focusing on the bigger picture here, so how we use Stories is another series of posts for another time.
Ok, it's time to re-surface that handy structure diagram because it’s time to start moving left-to-right.
A Milestone is a collection of Epics that together define the work to achieve a specific Milestone. Milestones can be based on time, OKRs, projects or other goals.
At Shortcut we currently use time-based milestones, with a milestone per squad per quarter. When creating Milestones, we have some general guidelines we follow.
In addition to this, Milestones may contain work from multiple teams or be team specific.
Examples of some milestones:
Here’s a snapshot of a completed Milestone in Shortcut:
The standard definition of an Epic is a large body of work, a large user problem that can be broken down into more than one story. At Shortcut, an Epic is a collection of stories that, when completed, will achieve a specific goal or outcome. Epics should always be for a finite period of time and ideally, be assigned to a Milestone.
We use an Epic when:
We do not use epics for:
To keep things tidy, we archive our Epics a year after they are marked as Done.
We like to include lots of information in our Epic Descriptions, acting as a single source of truth for what the work is for. We’re in the process of creating a definitive template for our descriptions but, right now, most of the following information is usually present in them:
As work on an Epic progresses, the description often changes or gets added to. For example, we might include some mockups in the epic description or links to more useful information that we find along the way.
Here’s a snapshot of a recently completed Epic in Shortcut, for our Slack Integration V2:
We’re almost done with this series! To wrap it up, we’re going to cover how we use Labels and show you how it all fits together.
How do you use Milestones & Epics at your company? We’d love to hear about it on Twitter.