The inventor of story points apologises for it

Ron Jeffries, the inventor of story points, says “I like to say that I may have invented story points, and if I did, I’m sorry now”.

What’s so bad about estimating with story points?

The problem is that it’s very difficult to know if your estimate is accurate or not. And it’s very difficult to get better at estimating if you don’t know how accurate your past estimates were.

You can estimate in days instead of story points, and still use techniques commonly used with story points:

  • Estimate relative to a past (small) story
  • Incorporate complexity/risk. A story with high complexity/risk should have a higher days estimate than a similar story with low complexity/risk.
  • Estimation poker
  • Fibonacci numbers

You lose the measure of sprint velocity but that’s a good thing. Team performance should be measured in terms of outcomes, not outputs.

Categorized as Agile

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