A large user story that awaits decomposition into smaller stories prior to implementation. When an epic story works its way up the backlog, it is usually so decomposed. Epics are sometimes far off on the development horizon and have lower priority.
In the scrum framework stories that are sprint ready must be small enough that they can be confidently implemented within the timebox of a single sprint.
NB: One can easily be tempted to associate the term ‘epic’ with importance; in Agile, epic relates only to size.
Background of the Term
As it relates to agile methodologies, Mike Cohn coined the term epic in his book User Stories Applied: For Agile Software Development. Chapter 2 of that book is available here as a pdf, in which there is discussion of epics.
Agile Alliance | Glossary | Epic
Don’t Finish Your Epics! Deliver More Value Instead.
User Stories Applied: For Agile Software Development
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To understand epic please review below examples.
For HR team an epic may be named as a “Q1 Hiring”. to find how many new resources hired.
For Support team considering deployment of ITIL. Epic name “FLR” can be used to identify how many issues resolved by providing First Level Resolution.
Khalid, I’m not sure these are relevant examples. An Epic is a large body of work that the project owner and team have identified but are not ready to work on. If you were building a software game you might have “Multi-player support” as an Epic since it’s a feature the product owner would like to include but it involves far reaching design and implementation considerations. Another example might be an accounting software application that has an Epic of “Smart phone support”.
I have a question.
If for example I have a large Project, or Program, with 3 applications involved, can my epics be “application 1, application 2, application3”?
Short answer to your question is yes.
If my ‘large project’ is:
Create a travel booking application
Then I might have epics such as:
Travel booking via the web
Travel booking via Android
Travel booking via iOS
You might find this cautionary look at epics helpful.
Thanks for you answer Chris 🙂
Is there any relevance between a Theme and an Epic?
Originally, an epic was a single large story. A theme was a collection of related stories. These days, the meanings are often interchanged. I suspect this is because some of the popular ‘agile project management’ software products use the terms backwards. As long as all the people you work use the words to mean the same thing, all will be fine. 🙂