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My company wants the team to estimate (via t-shirt sizes) Features/Epics. When we attempt to do this, I often get asked "is this estimate based on 1 person or the entire team working on the feature/epic"? I'm not sure how to answer this question because I know our business leaders want to be able to convert relative sizes (like S/M/L) to weeks of work.

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It doesn't matter as long as a) you are consistent and estimate every story the same way, and b) you can tell your business leaders what the conversion factor is.

There are additional layers of complexity that might influence your answer: are all tickets and developers interchangeable? Are all tickets worked by a single developer, or are some worked in pairs, or swarmed by the team? etc etc. But as long as you know what those things are, then you can do whichever is simplest.

(There's a whole other possible scrum/agile topic about whether business leaders ought to be that deeply in your business, and whether you should be using estimates to predict completion dates or velocity, but since you didn't tag this as scrum or agile, I won't go there. :) )

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  • business leaders ought to be that deeply in your business - by "your business" you mean development here, right? Nov 1 '21 at 6:18
  • I mean the details of how the dev team manages its work, yes. Nov 1 '21 at 13:59
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Scrum story pointing is mainly sizing the issues ( stories/epics/etc.) relative to each other and has no direct relation with efforts. So, since we are not sizing the issues in terms of efforts, the "is this estimate based on 1 person or the entire team working on the feature/epic" question is wrong.

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  • How come SP aren't related to efforts? This is exactly what we're estimating with SP. The units of efforts aren't typical - it's not time. Though in the end even this is not true - we do want to measure time with them (because Sprint is time-boxed), just not in hours. Nov 1 '21 at 6:15
  • Story points are not "directly" related to efforts because they do not depend on a calculation and every different profession in the team can use a different one on the same story; a designer can give "xsmall", a developer can give "medium" and a tester can give "xlarge" on the same story. Of course, in the end, we come up with these sizes by thinking like "how much time will it take me to complete this task?", but if you believe in a strong relationship between the story points and efforts, you can choose to estimate with hours, that will be easier for you. And, I like Fibonacci numbers Nov 2 '21 at 4:48

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