Story Kickoffs


What’s a story kickoff? Like the name implies, it’s an event to kick off the story with key stakeholders before working on it.


Why should development teams do story kickoffs? Because a story kickoff:

  • Confirms the requirements and approach
  • Creates clarity and alignment with the team
  • Calls out risks and uncertainties
  • Shares knowledge and ideas

Every ticket goes through a lifecycle from Open to Done. Changes are cheaper when they’re introduced early on, and they get more expensive to implement later on.

Imagine a developer who goes down the wrong path and isn’t called out until the review stage. The developer and the team pays for the lost time and effort. Moreover, the developer has to start from scratch again.

This is why there are so many checkpoints in agile software development:

  • Grooming
  • Estimation
  • Kickoff
  • Review
  • Desk Check
  • QA
  • Release

The purpose of each checkpoint is to check in with the team and shorten the feedback loop and adaptation cycle. The earlier we catch something, the less waste, inefficiency, and impediments the team experiences later on.


Kickoffs can be synchronous or asynchronous. Synchronous kickoffs are done over meetings. Asynchronous kickoffs can be done over threads.

During a kickoff, the assignee confirms:

  • The acceptance criteria with the product manager
  • The mockup with design
  • The technical requirements with developers
  • The test plan with quality analysts

He or she will go over the approach and call out any uncertainties/risks. The team will weigh in on the proposal and provide any additional comments, questions, and/or insights.

Once the team approves the kickoff, the assignee moves the ticket from Ready for Dev to In Progress. In the scenario where more investigation is needed, the assignee can move the ticket to In Progress first and do the kickoff later.

But keep in mind, kickoffs don’t need to be approved by every member. The purpose of kickoffs is to be a checkpoint, not a bottleneck. In the end, it’s up to the team to figure out how to make the most out of kickoffs. If done correctly, kickoffs will make the team happier and more productive.

Please support this site and join our Discord!