What is Scrum Epic? And How to Create It

March 1, 2023
4 minute read

When planning Scrum sprints, teams identify which user stories they can complete within their work period. These user stories are derived from bigger units of work called scrum epics.

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into scrum epics and review tips on crafting ones that you can effectively turn into focused and actionable user stories.


What Is An Epic In Scrum?

A Scrum Epic is a feature or fix too large to be completed in a single sprint. It is often broken down into manageable user stories. 

Used to identify an overall goal that needs to be achieved, a Scrum epic provides structure and guidance to the team when creating their sprint goals. It also ensures that each small user story contributes to the overall plan.

The Product Owner typically identifies an epic to provide a clear vision of what needs to be accomplished. However, it can also be determined by the development team to suggest new ideas or areas for improvement. In either case, it should provide a high-level overview of what needs to be done to move the project forward.


Scrum Epics, User Stories, And Themes

Scrum uses epics, themes, and user stories, to organize work.

Scrum Epic vs Story vs Task

While an agile scrum epic is a large objective that can’t be done within a sprint, a user story is a work unit comprising the scrum epic.

This being said, a Scrum Epic is a larger, more general version of a User Story. A User Story is a small piece of work describing a specific function or feature. While a Scrum Epic is more general, it is still specific enough to give the team an overall understanding of the scope and objectives. 

Breaking a scrum epic into user stories allows the team to focus on the details of the project. This allows the team to determine the steps needed to complete the project, making it easier to plan and manage the project. Breaking an Epic into smaller stories also makes it easier to track progress, as the team can more easily identify which tasks have been completed and which still need to be finished.

A task is an action point that the scrum team needs to do to accomplish the user story.

Scrum Epic vs. Theme

An epic is a big user story or collection of user stories that tell a story. It is a high-level concept that is broken down into smaller stories or tasks. The epic should be long-term and have a greater impact on the product or project.

Groups of epics constitute a project. Projects are time-bound initiatives meant to benefit key stakeholders. A theme is an area of focus relevant to the organization by which projects and initiatives are created to improve.


How To Create An Epic

An epic's basic format comprises an introduction, product, technical, and design requirements. Here’s how you can write an epic step-by-step.

Write Your Introduction

The introduction is composed of the background of your epic, the feature you want to introduce or the problem you want to solve, the definition of success, and the value it contributes to your customer, business, or others.

For example, let’s say you’re creating an eCommerce website for your client, who’s an influencer who wants to sell her merchandise. An important feature would be that users can zoom into the product photos and view all available colors with just a few clicks.

The introduction to your epic can be:

This feature will allow users to explore all available colors for the pieces of merchandise and zoom into the photos to inspect details. This functionality is expected to help increase conversion by 15%.

Determine Product, Design, and Engineering Requirements

Your product requirement talks about what the feature should allow users to do. The design requirement defines the quality of interaction your product needs to have with your users. Finally, engineering requirements outline notes, release plans, and test strategies.

Defining product, design, and engineering requirements in scrum epic cannot be overstated. Such a definition enables stakeholders to break down the bigger picture into smaller, more manageable tasks. This helps them identify the tasks that need to be completed, their priority, and the resources required to complete each task. All this is important for the successful completion of the epic in scrum.

Furthermore, defining the product, design, and engineering requirements helps stakeholders collaborate better on the scrum epic. It helps them to understand each others' roles and responsibilities. They can also identify any milestones that need to be achieved as part of the epic in scrum. It is also easier to track the progress of the scrum epic when the requirements are clearly defined.

In conclusion, defining product requirements, design requirements, and engineering requirements in scrum epic are essential for successfully completing the epic. It helps the different stakeholders to understand their roles, collaborate better and track the progress of the epic.


Tips For Writing A Scrum Epic

Take Your Time

The success of any project, particularly in agile and scrum, depends on how well the planning is done. When writing your scrum epic, take your time. 

An epic in scrum is a big story that can be broken down into smaller stories. Each epic must be well-defined and detailed to give stakeholders a clear idea of the project goals. 

Taking your time when writing a scrum epic can help ensure the project's success. By planning, defining, and measuring each epic, the team can ensure that the project is on track and can make the necessary changes as needed.

Be Systematic

When writing a scrum epic, it is essential to be systematic and organized. Create a logical structure and assign a priority to each story. 

Start by creating a list of all the key features that must be included in the epic. Then, prioritize the list by importance and assign tasks to the team members. Once the tasks are assigned, create a timeline for the epic and review the tasks to ensure that each job is achievable and the timeline is realistic.

Lastly, review the progress of each task and make adjustments as needed to ensure the epic is completed on time. Being systematic when writing a scrum epic will help ensure all tasks are completed efficiently and effectively. Using a project management tool like Workamajig can help you stay on top of this.

Work With Your Team

Writing a scrum epic is a task that requires the collective efforts of a team. It is important to ensure everyone is on the same page and aware of their responsibilities. Working with the team ensures that the epic includes all the necessary details, is well-defined, and is easy to understand. 

The team should discuss the ideas and come to a consensus on the best action plan. Everyone should be allowed to voice their opinion and provide feedback. This ensures that everyone’s input is considered and the best solution is chosen. 

Working with the team when writing a scrum epic allows all team members to be involved in the process and contribute to the project's success.

Consult Experts

When writing your scrum epic, consulting experts will enable you to ensure that each piece is well-defined and that the smaller tasks are appropriately organized. Moreover, experts can provide valuable advice and guidance on the best practices. They can help you identify any potential risks or challenges you may encounter while working on the project. Therefore, consulting experts is an essential step when writing a scrum epic, as it can help ensure that the project is successfully completed.


Wrap Up

Scrum epics are long-term objectives that contribute to the success of your project. A well-written epic can help you and your team make better decisions, plan work, and prioritize.


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