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  1. Don’t Equate Story Points to Hours

    …quite adamant lately that story points are about time, specifically effort. But that does not mean you should say something like, “One story point = eight hours.” Doing this obviates the main reason to use story points in the first place. Story points are helpful because they allow team members…
  2. Planning Poker

    Planning Poker® is a consensus-based estimating technique. Agile teams around the world use Planning Poker to estimate their product backlogs. Planning Poker can be used with story points, ideal days, or any other estimating unit.
  3. Estimating with Story Points Course Available for One Week

    …on how to use story points to create great estimates. If you’ve enjoyed the free videos, why not sign up for the full Estimating with Story Points course? It will be available to new members for one week, until November 24 at 9 p.m. Pacific, and then we’ll close the…
  4. Why I Don’t Use Story Points for Sprint Planning

    …huge fan of using story points for estimating the product backlog. However, I also recommend estimating the sprint backlog in hours rather than in points. Why this seeming contradiction? I've previously blogged on the reasons why I recommend using different estimation units (points and hours) for the different backlogs. But…
  5. How Do Story Points Relate to Hours?

    …about the relationship between story points and hours. People who ask are usually looking for me to say something like “one story point = 8.3 hours.” Well, that just isn't the case (especially since I made up 8.3 hours). Let's see what the real relationship is between the agile point…
  6. How to Work with Complex User Stories That Cannot Be Split

    …is another type of story: the complex story. Complex stories are ones that cannot be split. They are inherently large or complex and there are no subparts to be pulled into separate stories. Even with a complex story, you don’t want to let the story linger open for three, four…
  7. Should Story Points Be Assigned to a Bug Fixing Story?

    …teams write a user story for this activity such as: “As a user, I want at least 15 bugs fixed” or, “As a user, I want you to spend about 50 hours this sprint fixing bugs so that the application becomes gradually more high quality.” Even a team that doesn't…
  8. Story Points Estimate Effort Not Just Complexity

    …cost risk. Teams Think Story Points Are Just Complexity I mention this because I find too many teams who think that story points should be based on the complexity of the user story or feature rather than the effort to develop it. Such teams often re-label “story points” as “complexity…
  9. The Main Benefit of Story Points

    If story points are an estimate of the time (effort) involved in doing something, why not just estimate directly in hours or days? Why use points at all? There are multiple good reasons to estimate product backlog items in story points, and I cover them fully in the Agile Estimating…
  10. Should Companies Measure Productivity in Story Points / Ideal Days?

    Using story points or ideal days to measure productivity is a bad idea because it will lead the team to gradually inflate the meaning of a point—when trying to decide between calling something “two points” or “three points” it is clear they will round up if they are being evaluated…
  11. Is It a Good Idea to Establish a Common Baseline for Story Points?

    …a common baseline for story points across relatively large teams (a few hundred developers). In this post I want to consider whether doing so is a good idea. The need for a common baseline to story points usually arises from the reasonable desire to know how big the entire project…
  12. Brand New Estimating with Story Points Video Course Now Available

    Estimating With Story Points is currently closed for new registrations. You can register here to find out when doors open again. This past week I’ve shared free online video training to help tackle some of the most common problems teams face when estimating with story points. If you’ve enjoyed the…
  13. Points Are About Relative Effort Not Ranking

    …let me put some points on each car. I'll start with the least desirable car and put a 1 on it, a 2 on the next car, etc. That reorders our list so with points on each car we get: Tata Nano Toyota Camry Toyota Prius Aston Martin Vanquish Porsche…
  14. Working with "Storyless Tasks"

    …to a particular user story or product backlog item. Common examples I’m asked about include tasks like “update the build server to use the latest version of FitNesse.” Fixing bugs from prior iterations are another common example. I’ve sometimes heard of these tasks that don't belong to a particular product…
  15. VIDEO: Coaching Tips to Stop Teams Equating Points to Hours

    …people understand and explain story points. It's not currently available but you can register here to find out when it's next released. 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…