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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 ...
Bogdan's user avatar
  • 15.2k
52 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 ...
Sarov's user avatar
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35 votes

Why are developers expected to estimate tasks at all?

You Have an X/Y Problem Why are developers expected to estimate tasks at all...[when i]n my ideal world, management would simply tell me which task they want me to work on next and then as it ...
Todd A. Jacobs's user avatar
  • 50.5k
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 ...
Thomas Owens's user avatar
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22 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 ...
hamena314's user avatar
  • 498
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 ...
Todd A. Jacobs's user avatar
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20 votes

Why are developers expected to estimate tasks at all?

Frame Challenge Almost everything a developer writes is unique, they have never built that particular thing before. We are not cabinet makers repeating a variation of something we've built hundreds ...
Jan Doggen's user avatar
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, ...
Bogdan's user avatar
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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 ...
Bogdan's user avatar
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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 ...
MCW's user avatar
  • 8,728
17 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?" "...
Sarov's user avatar
  • 14.8k
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 ...
nvogel's user avatar
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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 ...
nvogel's user avatar
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15 votes
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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 ...
Bogdan's user avatar
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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 ...
Thomas Owens's user avatar
  • 19.5k
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 ...
Todd A. Jacobs's user avatar
  • 50.5k
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 ...
Bogdan's user avatar
  • 15.2k
11 votes

Is Planning Poker Bad for Software Development Teams?

Planning Poker isn't the only way to estimate and lots of teams get on well with other methods. More experienced teams may find they can reach a consensus estimate via a quick conversation instead. ...
nvogel's user avatar
  • 6,305
11 votes

Estimating when my project will be done

Just because you have 150 story points in your backlog now does not mean that work captures the work necessary from your stakeholders' perspectives. Every iteration, you should be evaluating what has ...
Thomas Owens's user avatar
  • 19.5k
11 votes

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

My company will sometimes engage into a "discovery" phase where we will spend 20-80 hours detailing the exact requirements of the project and determining the cost. We do this if we believe ...
theblindprophet's user avatar
11 votes

Artificial decomposition in Scrum

I know there is an accepted answer, but I find it to have a bit of a trap in it, so I want to provide this answer for another view. I've been practicing Scrum for about 15 years and I have yet to ...
Daniel's user avatar
  • 16.9k
10 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 ...
Todd A. Jacobs's user avatar
  • 50.5k
10 votes

Task estimation for PMs who are not developers

Have Task Performers Provide Estimates In agile frameworks (and even in sensible non-agile frameworks), project managers should never estimate work items themselves. Instead, the people who will ...
Todd A. Jacobs's user avatar
  • 50.5k
10 votes

Giving high level estimates to client without commiting to numbers

To add onto nvogel's correct answer. Besides for providing itemized deliverables, you need to add in the standard functions that are forgotten, overlooked but necessary and very time + resource ...
Danny Schoemann's user avatar
9 votes

What is the term for actual delivery time will be varied by 4 times from estimation?

Cone of Uncertainty Research in the software industry on the Cone of Uncertainty stated that in the beginning of the project life cycle (i.e. before gathering of requirements) estimates have in ...
Ashok Ramachandran's user avatar
9 votes
Accepted

How to break down an 8 point story into smaller stories in Scrum?

I would walk the team through the Story splitting flowchart. Often someone has an idea how to split it, utilising the full team to split is often better than just trying to split it by yourself. Split ...
Niels van Reijmersdal's user avatar
9 votes

Is Planning Poker Bad for Software Development Teams?

We estimate as a team and then take the average Good grief, don't take the average! That's not how planning poker is played. Here's how I teach my teams: start with a brief discussion of the work ...
Vicki Laidler's user avatar
9 votes

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

Some suggestions which could help, depending on the nature and size of the story. Arrange a code walkthrough so that the team members can see the issues for themselves If the story is small enough ...
nvogel's user avatar
  • 6,305
9 votes
Accepted

Who consumes estimates?

Estimates are a tool that supports planning. Anyone that needs to make decisions and build plans about the future can use estimates as a tool to make predictions and figure stuff out (without knowing ...
Bogdan's user avatar
  • 15.2k
9 votes

Giving high level estimates to client without commiting to numbers

Attach each estimate to an itemised deliverable rather than a named scope of work, that way there's less room for doubt about what was estimated. Use relative estimation (points) at the item level ...
nvogel's user avatar
  • 6,305

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