Batch Size

In the world of Agile & Lean, as in the world in general, the likelihood of successfully completing something is based on how you manage the work, which ultimately is about how you break it into manageable, achievable units, then go about completing it.

Batch size is nothing more than the common units of work.  In Agile and Lean the most common unit size is a story or a ‘unit’ and the most common batch is 1.

It is, however, only a starting point, as the video attached to this will demonstrate, with a bit of humor!

We would rarely see a team only commit to 1 story in an iteration.  Likewise would not see a plant or other system focus on delivering only one unit of something, due to the trade off of waste associated with it.

However, when we think about applying a Work in Progress Limit (WIP) and batch size together, we can easily see a more manageable way of working using a consistent unit size and a common batch approach.  In Agile (or Lean Software Development generally) the unit is a Story and the batch is Capacity, where Capacity = Velocity – Adjustments.

Velocity helps us better understand our batch size, by team, while stories are normalized into workable value unit sizing.  This is also scalable for multiple teams, or multiple iterations, so larger organizations, projects or programs can begin to make large efforts work within the normal constraints that we place on agile teams.  This is a powerful approach to delivering large value proposition work into large or small enterprises.

The other component of batch size that is of extreme importance to Lean & Agile teams and organizations is the size of their batches will determine their ability to pivot, which ultimately means they will be more or less nimble (agile).  The ability to move in a different direction, either by learning, adjusting or failing fast is what allows the perception of business agility.

The Video is here: