I am joining a new team that has been struggling with sizing for years. They have not been making sprints. They have been setting their own Story Points, and historically they have correlated them to time (half a sprint, a week, days, a day, hours). If a dev is assigned a story, she sets her own SP value. QA time is not considered. They are also estimating issues. SP values are then used against capacity of developers to assign out work. About 40% of a given cycle is issues, the other 60% are stories that are in flight over multiple cycles typically.
I would like to use Planning Poker to help them get better at estimates.
However, the team is really reluctant about it. They've had some bad experiences with estimating in the past, and there has been a lot of change to processes in the last year for them. A PM came in earlier this year, but ended up leaving due to personal reasons which caused a lot of chaos since they had introduced new processes but weren't able to stay on to maintain/help transform the team with them. That was the beginning of the year, and I joined a couple months after they left. I've spent the last month learning their current processes.
How do I go about making sure they get a win here? They are tired and don't want more change, especially if it isn't productive. I am considering doing planning poker with them for the upcoming sprint, but also attempting to under-size it. We're coming to holidays, and we're changing process, so I am thinking that the combo of Planning Poker and shooting for a low velocity for the overall sprint might help build momentum around work, but I'm worried that when we size the next sprint higher, it might feel like a bit of bait and switch?
The main thing is to give them a win so that it builds trust and momentum in the process. It can be hard when you first start, especially since we'll be just starting to include QA for the first time. I want to smooth things out and make the path simple, but it's tough because usually if these things take a long time, it's because they need to. I don't want to ask this tired team to just "suck it up," I want to help them.
I'd love your thoughts. Thank you for reading and for any feedback.