Agile planning and estimation: A view on Story Points

Hours and story points are about time. We use them to estimate how long it will take to complete a user story. It is more natural for us to use hours. However, in agile planning and estimation. Story points could really prove to be more efficient and accurate.

Story points are like breathing underwater when scuba diving. We aren't used to it. It takes training and practice to manage to breathe efficiently while scuba diving. We are used to breath fresh air oxygen. It is our nature. It is how we live. We do it every second. Going underwater is a bit different. It is not as easy. Yet you still breath O2 either ways.

Hours and story points are about time. We use them to estimate how long it will take to complete a user story. It is more natural for us to use hours. However, in agile planning and estimation. Story points could really prove to be more efficient and accurate.
Similar to scuba diving -breathing underwater-. Story points is new to us. It needs training & practice. It will improve over time and will become a natural thing to work with.

Example

Have a look at the following example:
Group of friends are discussing how long it will take one of them to do a road trip between 3 cities. City A to B and then C. High way distance between 2 cities A & B is 100km (~62miles). The Distance between B and C is 200km (~124miles)   

One said it will take an hour. Another said it will take 2 hours. 3rd person suggested it will take 2.5 hours because of the traffic. Another adjusted that to 3 hours because of some road works. They decided to put a side few parameters that will affect the estimation i.e type of car, traffic and road works etc...

Then they agreed that it should take 2 trip points to reach city B from A. They also agreed not to map those 2 points to hours. Now they started to think of what could affect their estimation (potential risks).
In this case it could be traffic and road works on the high way.  

So they agreed to adjusted their estimation to be 3 points. Using a super car could defiantly reduce time. But they agreed to stick with 3 points using a super care or normal one.  

After arriving to city B. They gathered some information about the next leg of the road trip. They know it is twice the distance. Probably maintaining similar risks but with less traffic. 
Taking first leg as a reference. They decided that the trip should take as twice as the first one. In this case 6 trip points.  

Conclusion

After completing the trip in 3 days. They agreed that the velocity to finish a one-way road trip between 3 cities of total distance 300km is 6 trip points.

What's Next?  

Plan next road trip. Which could have more legs. Or require stops and services. The team gather for planning and estimation. Having a starting velocity of 6 points per 3 days trip.

References

It’s Effort, Not Complexity

Story Points Are Still About Effort

Don’t Equate Story Points to Hours

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