Monday, August 16, 2010

Follow-up: What do story points relate to?

This is a follow-up to my earlier post.

When asked "What do story points relate to?" is how the readers responded.

Result of the poll conducted on my earlier blog post

In My opinion, story points have evolved to be a reflection of "relative" effort required to accomplish the story from just being a representation of "relative size". Here is why.

In traditional software development, the size of a requirement doesn't change until there is a scope change. The size estimation doesn't take into consideration the factors which potentially may impact the effort involved..such as the unknowns, risks and complexity. Even if projects encounter schedule / effort slippages, the size remains constant and traditionally adept project managers attribute the delays to lower productivity.

However in the value driven world of agile development, the bottom line is 'When can the working software be delivered'. The team comes together and estimates in story points to get a better handle in sprint / release / product planning. But the key aspect here is that story points intend to convey not just relative size (read scope of work), but also the capability of the development team, level of complexity and level of unknowns. Hence in my opinion, the story points best relate to the effort required to get the story 'DONE'.

Does this explanation fit your view of story points? If not, please leave a comment.

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