What are story points ?
Story points are the numbers given in the form of complexity level and usually stated using Fibonacci numbers.
The art of story pointing
Determining points for a story can be sometimes a daunting task if not done with an experienced team. There maybe often times conflicts and understanding gaps in the allocation of this points.
For example, in the products and sprints that I am part of, there are two ways how this can be done :
- Based on developer effort
- Based on all aspects that needs to constitute the story as Done.
Hence, the definition of Done or Completed for a story is very important and should be the first detail that needs to be ironed out for any new product team before beginning a sprint.
Importance of story points
Why is story points important ? because it determines how much the team can perform during a single sprint.
Backlog grooming (or sometimes known as backlog refinement) plays an important role before the sprint starts so as to allow the team to deliberate over the stories, clarity of the description and acceptance criteria (requirements) and the development feasibility. It will be beneficial to have this session once a week on a 30 mins session. Some may prefer to have it on the last week of the sprint itself lasting around 45 mins to 90 mins.
Story points will be assigned to each individual story once it is clear to the team on the 5Ws : who, what, when, where and why.
Before the start of the sprint, the team maximum capacity will also be estimated based on several factors including skillset, number of working days, holidays and planned vacations.
Once the capacity has been determined, this will be used as a measurement (yardstick) for how much the team can complete in a sprint. I refrain from using how many user stories they can complete as each story is varying in complexity.
Next, then will come the sprint planning session where total points for the sprint is examined and if its under or over-utilized based on the team capacity. If over, the decision will then be made by the product owner to move some of the stories to the next sprint. If is under, some of the stories from the next sprint will be moved to the current sprint.
Story and its points
How then does each story derive its points ?
- Complexity of the story
- Duration of the story (Important : the duration does not translate directly to points i.e. 1 day = 1 point)
- Number of person involved to complete the desired outcome of the story
- Number of components or changes involved
The number of points is based on Fibonacci numbers e.g. 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21. In short, the complexity increases based on the numbers.
Well, that is the end of my post for today.
You can also get more info on scrum ceremonies from below.