What are Story Points, why do they exist and how can thy be calculated? Find all the answers here. You will be surprised at what they have to offer!
Why Story Points?
Story points are a tool to determine the velocity of teams.
Velocity – another funny word. The speed of teams. OK. How fast can a team implement a certain scope? At first, “how fast” is not the problem. We are used to expressing this in time units.
ut what does scope mean? And how should this be measured objectively – i.e., so that we can compare it?
This is where story points enter the game. But more about that later. We’ll stay with the purpose for a moment, which is to determine the velocity of a team.
Why do we want to determine velocity anyway?
Everything for the organization
Organizations have a natural interest in keeping track of the economic impact of all their activities. When a project is started – ideally, even before that – an organization would like to know what the project will cost. However, thanks to time-to-market, they usually know fairly well when the project will go live. When it comes to costs and detailed scope, there are usually only a few vague ideas.
Unfortunately, Scrum is always chosen as a methodology when a sufficient specification of the item to be created is not available, but time is short. This can be for multiple reasons such as too complex requirements, time-to-market requirements, etc.
So there is absolutely nothing on which one could build a valid estimate and a nice project controlling with a neat Gantt chart and milestones together with resource planning etc. Organizations don’t like that.
If one doesn’t even know the item, it would at least be helpful to know what processing speed my team has.
Or in metaphorical terms: If I don’t know the route to my destination, it would at least be helpful to know the speed of the car I’m driving. I still don’t know exactly when I’ll arrive, but I could plan the individual sections of the route that are directly ahead of me. In other words, I’m no longer completely in the dark and the more the overall route becomes brighter, the more accurate my planning gets.
This should occur at the latest after 20 to 30 percent of the duration of the project. You should have about 80 percent certainty much earlier: at the point of no return. But we will discuss that at a different point.
The SAFe authors have even been persuaded by the context described here to demand normalized story points. I will come to this later on. Now we’re going to clarify story points and their application.
Story points are a way of measuring the complexity of a story. Put them in relation to the implementation effort of this story and you’ll the velocity.