82 votes
Accepted

Is Planning Poker Bad for Software Development Teams?

Is Planning Poker Bad for Software Development Teams? This is the wrong question to ask. Planning poker is a tool. Asking if planning poker is bad for software development teams is like asking if a ...
  • 14.2k
53 votes
Accepted

Task estimation for PMs who are not developers

If at all possible, they don't. They ask developers to estimate it. Estimates should always be made by the people who will perform the work being estimated. If this is not done, then you run the ...
  • 14.7k
36 votes
Accepted

How do you schedule delivery dates in Scrum?

TL; DR Agile release planning is based on fixed-length, normed-capacity cycles that operate on dynamically-planned and dynamically-scoped features. In Scrum, fixed-date release planning must be ...
  • 48.4k
33 votes

How should a Scrum master handle disagreements about story-point estimates in Scrum?

With that much variation in the estimate, it seems like the work as it's currently defined is not ready for estimation yet. Based on that wide spread in estimates, I would say that the team doesn't ...
  • 18.4k
23 votes

How should a Scrum master handle disagreements about story-point estimates in Scrum?

The first thing you should do is encourage the team to bring concrete arguments. "Things are more complicated than they seem" or "I don't think those complications are valid" are ...
  • 508
21 votes
Accepted

Why use both story points and hours?

Story Points Estimation and Hours Estimation have different purposes. We use Story Points during Product Backlog Refinement. Story Points are good for high-level planning. When we make an ...
21 votes
Accepted

Should velocity increase with time?

TL;DR Should velocity increase with time? The simplistic answer is that a project's velocity should only increase until the team has developed a stable, predictable cadence that can be maintained ...
  • 48.4k
20 votes
Accepted

How to manage story points when several developers work on 1 story?

When estimating user stories, everyone should be estimating the complete effort it will take the team to get the story to Done. So, the back-end dev should not just estimate the effort it will take ...
19 votes

Does the scrum master also estimate user stories?

If you do development work in the sprint, you should estimate. If you don't, then it's better you skip on providing your own story points estimates. You can help your team with information and advice, ...
  • 14.2k
19 votes
Accepted

At whose expense is the stage of preparing a contract performed?

This depends a lot on how the two companies involved in the contract negotiation operate. You have to realize that there is always a cost of doing business, and somehow you have to recuperate it from ...
  • 14.2k
19 votes
Accepted

Developer keeps underestimating tasks time

Hat tip to Nvoigt, Nvogel & D. Espina - all good answers, with particular emphasis on D. Espina's "sometimes, knowing one of your team is overly optimistic, you simply add your own margins ...
  • 8,728
18 votes
Accepted

Budgeting in an agile project

Well the easy and probably not completely helpful answer is, agile requires a change in how the business plans. You fund teams, not projects. That's not entirely helpful so let me try and bridge the ...
16 votes

Developer keeps underestimating tasks time

In Scrum the team aims to complete the sprint goal by the end of the sprint. It shouldn't be necessary to estimate day-to-day deadlines since the delivery date is always the end of the sprint. I ...
  • 5,871
16 votes

Giving high level estimates to client without commiting to numbers

Slight frame challenge: consider providing your estimates as the wide-end of a cone of uncertainty rather than a discrete number. "I need a [vague thing], how long would it take?" "...
  • 14.7k
15 votes
Accepted

What does person-month mean in development time?

Person-month is politically correct synonym for Man-month. It's mean amount of work performed by the average worker in one month. So, if: project requires 12 persons-months of development time all ...
15 votes

Definition of a Story Point

Story points are a relative measure of effort rather than an absolute one. However, each member of the team should have the same understanding of the size of a points estimate. A common understanding ...
  • 5,871
15 votes
Accepted

Artificial decomposition in Scrum

It looks like Scrum doesn't address this issue in any way? No, it doesn't. Scrum is a guide. Although it prescribes stuff, it doesn't prescribe a lot of stuff. This is one of the things that are left ...
  • 14.2k
14 votes
Accepted

In scrum should incomplete stories be re-estimated or does the original estimate get burned down when it's finally completed?

TL;DR Velocity is simply a proxy for measuring team capacity over time, and shouldn't be used for historical time accounting. Always estimate based on the current level-of-effort and complexity, and ...
  • 48.4k
13 votes

Why are estimates treated like deadlines?

I won't say that it is all about communication, but I think a large portion of the problem you see can be contributed to communications that could be improved. I work in the same field, and I've seen ...
  • 1,591
13 votes
Accepted

Sizing a potential project rapidly without formal estimation

The art of giving a SWAG estimate I have worked with many developers and development managers who are very reluctant to give an estimate with such limited information and limited time. They have been ...
13 votes

How can you estimate a spike story?

Two things jump out at me. First, the end result of a Spike is not a shippable product. Spikes are used to learn, and do research. The end result is an answer to a question or finding some ...
  • 18.4k
13 votes

In scrum, how do you track/estimate points when multiple tickets overlap their work?

Vertical Slicing is a Best Practice, Not a Framework Requirement Your prerequisite tasks (by definition) must be prioritized over their dependencies, so a separate task or user story for C should be ...
  • 48.4k
12 votes
Accepted

How to use Story Points, if User Stories are completely different?

You can't be faulted for being confused. It is very common for organizations to try and directly match story points to a real-world measurement. This exactly defeats the purposed of using story points ...
12 votes

How to make Release Planning more accurate?

Not surprisingly, I hear that question a lot. The basic problem with the question is that Agile disagrees with the fundamental idea of a fixed-scope/fixed-timeline project. In the question you were ...
  • 16.7k
12 votes
Accepted

How to estimate a project budget using story points?

TL;DR For agile projects, a basic formula for estimating budget is: (totalStoryPoints / velocity * teamHoursPerSprint) + nonLaborCosts = budgetEstimate The results should be reported as an ...
  • 48.4k
12 votes

What needs to be in place to get a Software project estimate within 10%

The software project, already completed (and even then your historical data might be off by more than 10% depending on how you tracked it). Note: this is not a joke. See https://en.wikipedia.org/...
12 votes

Definition of a Story Point

Let's be serious, people don't usually care how you do estimates. What they care about is how much it takes and/or how much it costs. Time and money. That's what they want. The estimates is just ...
  • 14.2k
11 votes
Accepted

Do you include testing in the original estimate?

The estimate for an item should cover how long it'll take to be done. Assuming what you define as done covers testing as well as development, then it should be in the original estimate. The best way ...
11 votes
Accepted

How to prevent deliberate long estimation?

First, remember that an estimate is highly unlikely to be 100% correct, so do the best you can with the information that is available to you. Second, break down the tasks as far as you reasonably can,...
  • 6,763
11 votes

Forecasting Story Points in Agile

TL;DR A common approach is to do a rough initial estimate of the Product Backlog using a sorting method like the bucket system, with variations described by ThoughtWorks or Mountain Goat Software. A ...
  • 48.4k

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