Even though, many teams find themselves discussing a meager difference in story points - often to the point of frustrated sighs - while the technical details are long clarified.
Today, I have been listening to an explanation of story point estimation. The team was just discussing a list of criteria to judge stories by, and I couldn't help but think: "What if we just cut to the dialogue instead of dealing with points, and used the criteria to encourage it?"
That thought led to a quasi-algorithmic way of estimating, quickly dubbed "Body scanner estimation" by my colleague Ilja Preuß (@ipreuss on twitter).
How to play
2. Answer all of the following questions with either Yes or No.
- Do we need to pull support or input from outside the team?
- Does it affect outside systems?
- Do we need to share knowledge about the results?
- Does it need management approval?
- Does it need specialized knowledge? (Or can any of us do it?)
- Is this story the first of its kind for our team?
- Is it very time consuming?
- Is it annoying to complete?
- Do we have technical debt in the vincinity?
- Does the change ripple throughout our system?
- Do we need to set up testing infrastructure?
- Do we need to set up build infrastructure?
3. Now, count the number of "Yes" and add 1 as the base cost.
4. Round the result to the nearest number from Fibonacci's sequence to get your estimation.
5. Sanity check the result.
This method of estimation gives teams a handrail to work with, with questions to spark further thought and discussion.
I yet to try Body scanner estimation, so I am eager to hear of your results. Do the questions make sense to you? Did you add some of your own?
More importantly, though, did you come up with a fresh way of estimating lately?
Let us know in the comments.