Today’s post introduces the first installment in a free series of training videos to help teams use story points to create estimates. The training will be available until Wednesday, April 21 at 9 p.m. Pacific.
Last year I released a free series of training videos about estimating with story points. More than 5,900 people took the training, and we had hundreds of comments in the discussion area.
I’ve decided to release it again, and we’re now offering closed captions in multiple languages. So if you’d like to watch the videos with closed captions, you can now choose from German, Spanish, Hindi, Dutch, Polish, and Portuguese!
What People Loved About Video #1: Equating Points to Hours
One universal problem that really resonates with people is teams that insist on equating points to hours. We’re so used to time-based methods of estimating that getting a team to really understand what we mean by relative, abstract, and effort can be hard work.
As Leise commented, setting expectations from the start about story points definitely makes it easier:
Leise Astrid Passer Jensen
Hi Mike, this is a great initiative, Thx a lot. My takeaway from video #1 was that I was right in the past when I always have said and experienced this: once a team had started with comparing a SP with a certain number of hours, it is almost impossible to get them to think differently. Thx for confirming that - it stresses how important it is that we educate people in *relative* estimation from the beginning. Looking forward to your next video.
Starting Out or Trying to Reset Bad Habits? This Video Will Help
If you’re introducing points to your team for the first time, this video is perfect for getting everyone on the same page.
But what if you don’t have the luxury of working with a brand-new team? Well, if the best time to teach a team about story points was 20 years ago, the second-best time is today—if you do it in the right way.
It helps to start with the theory, of course, but to make it really sink in you have to go beyond that and use multiple coaching examples and illustrations.
As Marageret saw, even the language you use to describe and coach teams about story points can make a difference:
Hi Mike, I really enjoyed this first video and was able to relate as I have been in many teams and SM'd many teams where the struggle is real in defining what a story point is. My biggest takeaway from this is not only around resetting the definition of story points being relative and abstract measurements of effort but also with my own language as a SM when I am coaching my team in their journey. This video series is great. Thank you.
But what if people are so resistant to the idea of story points that team members just don’t want to listen to your theory or your illustrations? I have some practical tips in this video to help:
This is fantastic and easily understandable. I just went through the painful phase of reminding myself why the team can't just equate points to hours and we've just begun resetting their understanding of points overall. Just finished sprint planning using our new pointing model and there's a lot of resistance because it feels like it's taking too long. But the Triangulation method should make that run much more smoothly. Thanks for this! Looking forward to sharing it with my teams.
Watch now to learn:
- How to overcome the temptation to give in to a team’s desire to equate points to hours—specific ways to explain it confidently
- The problems you’ll encounter using a points-to-time approach
- An overview of why points are abstract, relative, and effort, with coaching illustrations you can use to explain this
- The tell-tale signs that signal your team is still thinking in terms of time (and why sometimes this is okay)
This video will help you start to weed out those deep-rooted problems and bad habits teams have picked up from equating points to time. It clears the path to save time, so you can estimate rather than argue, and have better discussions about the effort required to deliver your work.
Join the Conversation
We’re going to be covering the topic of estimating with story points over the next week, so sign up to watch the videos and add your voice to the conversation, or leave a comment below.