Estimation in Story Points



By Ajay Shenoy

Bangalore, India



Agile Projects integrate numerous techniques that will not work in waterfall for estimation. One such technique is estimating the size of user stories with abstract measures of effort and use of story points to define effort of work, which can be completed in a sprint.

Scrum Project Teams can implement a set of features, which are broken down into stories, which can be completed by the scrum team in short sprints. User Stories would be broadly pulled in from the Product backlog, which would be in the priority order set by the Product Owner. The Scrum team may not be able to implement all stories present in the product backlog in a single sprint, so there could be different stories, which could be pulled up from the product backlog. The number of stories depends on the amount of effort it takes to fully implement each story.

Sprint Planning

One of the ceremonies in Scrum is Sprint planning meeting where the team would estimate out all the tasks associated with each user story and in the Sprint Backlog. All the required resources needed to complete all the tasks for each sprint is considered during effort estimation. A shared task list is created to estimate the duration and effort of each user story in Sprint backlog. This practices the shared responsibility among agile teams, which results in common estimation process, which is consistent.

How to Scrum Team Estimate?

The most commonly used technique in Scrum is the usage of Story points to represent the relative effort of user story or task. Although estimating in hours is very common in traditional waterfall projects but is rarely used in agile. A common approach used is usage of story points to estimate the relative complexity while implementing a user story. You can set any value to a story point that a scrum team decides upon. Each scrum team will have their own scale of Story point. There would be no set value defined to a story point. Although the value needs to be consistent across the team. The scale of story point may not be the same scale, which another scrum may use.

Story points are typically based on modified Fibonacci series, which is a number sequence. The sequence goes like 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 20, 40, and 100. For Example, the team might have decided that value of a story point is 1 day, and so 5-story point will have a value of 5 days. If team has picked User Story A and assigned 1 story point. If team picks Story B and think it will take twice the effort to implement, team would assign 2 story points to user story B. There is no per-define formula about use of 1 or 2 story points. Another scrum team might assign this same two story 8 & 16 respectively depending on the scale they have agreed upon.


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How to cite this article:  Shenoy, A. (2019). Estimation in Story Points, PM World Journal, Volume VIII, Issue V, June. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/pmwj82-Jun2019-Shenoy-estimation-in-story-points.pdf



About the Author

Ajay Shenoy

Bangalore, India



Ajay Shenoy, a certified Scrum Professional and Agile Coach, has been involved in Technology Solutioning since 2007. He started working as a Solution Engineer and slowly incorporated into a technical program manager. He is a Certified Scrum Professional and has good knowledge on Prince2, Agile, Lean, Scrum, Kanban and SAFe frameworks. Along with expertise in Project management, he has deep interest in Technology side. With these skills, Ajay can help people understand process as well as Agile. Ajay has a perfect blend of project management with technical skills and business acumen.

Ajay started his Agile journey in 2012, as part of engineering teams. He practiced scrum and other agile frameworks in delivering successful products within limited time frames. Ajay is proficient in Engineering practices such as Scrum, Lean Software development, and Kanban and has designed several solutions and market rollouts working with product/services companies. He believes in following key agile practices like Just In Time, Value Stream mapping, Refactoring, Improving lead and cycle time.

He single handedly built a group comprised of 700 employees with different skills/roles. He indulges in several meets/ conferences and sharing knowledge on public platforms like linkedin with reference to agile. Ajay has coached/trained several teams in different organizations; he was part of an agile team to improve an existing framework.

He has a Master’s degree in IT & Finance and is currently based out of Bangalore. You can reach him on his email @ shenoyajay82@yahoo.com.