Helpful Rapid Complexity Assessment


While iterating through a large list of existing and suggested product inputs (AKA Ideas with little or no Discovery done) I needed a simple, fast way to assess complexity and put the Wildest of WAGs on some items to evaluate feasibility for further investigation. I've attempted to generalize the approach for use & iteration by others below. 

To run this estimation task grab a group of 1-3 product folks (PM, PO & UX are all eligible) and 1-3 Engineering folks (minimum 1 engineer, 1 QA) and follow the cards below,

Understand Highest Level Requirements
  • Which user personas will accomplish what high level tasks
  • Who is likely to be interacting with the software (if applicable)
  • Will the tasks be completed within the Client Admin, Company Backend, or Front end Client?
  • Could data be stored in drupal, mongo, sql, other? (no final choices being made)
  • What is the expected outcome & any artifacts of the task?
Share your biggest area of concern

Share the first/largest area of concern that comes to mind with the group, (and write it down) share your next highest concern if yours is taken.

Assign Complexity (1-3)

Given the largest concerns just heard, assign a complexity rating of this feature from your point of view:

  1. Simple, very few unknown details or requirements, strait forward testing
  2. Routine, mostly known details or requirements with some novel implementations or concepts, possibly lengthy or complex testing
  3. Complex, mostly unknown despite basic concepts or requirements being understood, complex testing likely required
[Optionally] Assign Story Points based on complexity

Engineering members vote with planning poker- This is a sizing exercise and not a commitment: additional sizing will be done if this feature is determined to be a feasible candidate for future work.

If the feature is simply too large/complex to fathom an estimate product will return with the feature broken down to smaller features

Product doesn’t know all the details of these features, engineering isn’t expected to know all the details of their part either


Note the biggest areas of concern and leave them attached for when this item comes back around again.


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