Story Points Reflect Uncertainty

July 14, 2021

Many teams use story points to estimate the complexity of stories. There are other units, for example T-shirt sizes, that are more beginner-friendly, because they are better at taking the team's minds of estimating time required for tasks. If I have to estimate, I like story points, because they make it easier to help people see uncertainty.

Our product owner likes them, too. For planning it is easy to determine, based on past productivity, that a story point is around 4 hours for one team, and more like 6 hours for another. But this is not a happy spot to be in as a team. How do you explain that a story point in a 21 point story is different than a story point in a 3 point story? That 3 points taking one and a half day is a pretty sure thing, while 21 points taking 10 and a half days is precise, but most likely wrong?

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A Simple Concept Map for Metrics

July 6, 2021

Lord Kelvin is quoted for having said that (scientific) knowledge requires that we are able to measure and express something in numbers. Metrics tell us about systems or processes we manage, for example the software system we develop and the development process of our team. They can be used to

  • define and track progress towards a goal,
  • quantify a risk,
  • measure specific quality aspects (e.g. availability), and so on.
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Leaky Scrum, Squishy Testing

April 6, 2021

When bugs are taking overhand, the sprint goal is frequently missed, team morale is down, and developers are working themselves into burnout, we may have a case of Leaky Scrum, Squishy Testing. Agile Testing helps. But how can you recognize this problem before it's too late?

In my view, this common failure mode of agile development is caused by not allowing the development team to take over enough testing activities. As a result, the team is not able to assume their responsibility for the quality of the product. When initially adopting agile methods, testing after development may still feel quite natural. However, under pressure to deliver, this situation can destabilize and ruin the development effort.

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