Tuesday, 22 October 2013

What's the point of highlighting story point "velocity"?

I see story points as an early estimation of relative complexity of a given software development task.

Part of the purpose of using story points instead of "ideal man days" is that the team can avoid getting too bogged down in how long it will actually take to achieve.

Keeping a record of these early estimates is fair enough, but is there really any point in using them as a significant indicator of the team's achievement from iteration to iteration?

What can the team do when they see the story point count is a little low so far in the current iteration?

  • Arbitrarily re-prioritise stories?
  • Cut corners by compromising on quality?
  • Work some extra time without pairing?
  • Save time in meetings by not having a say?
Estimates have some usefulness, but it is my assertion that they are counter productive as an indicator of progress mid-iteration.