If you have a lot of work to get done, or you’re a leader who wants to quantify the work that’s both completed and outstanding, then this guide to using story points is for you.
It’s common for teams to face challenges when trying to estimate workloads.
There can be disagreement about how much work something will take, or teams can feel overwhelmed by the undetermined but significant amount of work on their list.
One of the critical challenges in estimating workload is that the traditional approaches are both personal and subjective.
Story points and relative estimation provide you with a better option.
I've found using story points focused teams because it helped provide an objective shared measurement of how much effort work will take.
You can feel confident in how much work you have to do using a specific measurement for your workload without getting stuck in the weeds debating how many hours something will take.
We got you covered. This article will cover essential topics to help you feel confident using story points.
Relative estimation or relative sizing is a method of measuring new workload relative to past workload.
In Scrum, you are not measuring work in absolute terms like hours spent or lines of code to be written. Because until you do the job, these are unknown and, at best just guesses. Absolute measurements include a lot of assumptions and trying to land on a specific absolute measurement wastes a lot of time in debate.
The problem with absolute sizing is you begin to measure the people, not the work.
When using relative estimation, the work is sized relative to past work already completed. So when looking at a new user story, the team asks, “Is this user story A most similar to this past user story B or this past user story C?”
As the team completes more work together, a shared work typology emerges. The sizing levels become apparent, and sizing becomes very natural and fluid for the team.
I’ll explain this more in the next section, but an essential element of relative sizing is the relationship between your units of measurement. Each size is relative to the previous two smaller sizes added together.
If you want to try relative estimation on your team, here are four steps to get you started.
It’s not overly complicated but requires discipline to avoid using absolute measurements like hours.
Let’s dive deeper into two relative estimation strategies you can use to quantify how much work a user story will take.
Leaning Scrum for the first time can be a bit overwhelming. There are many new terms and concepts in Scrum.
Well we’re here to help.