As anyone with time to spare will know I’ve recently spent a lot of time thinking, and writing about story points. This was in response to Vasco Duarte’s Story Points Considered Harmful blog from a month or two back. For completeness here are the links:
- Vasco Duarte: Story Points Considered Harmful
- Story points considered harmful? 1 of 4 – Journey’s start
- Story points 2 of 4 – Duarte’s arguments
- Story points 3 of 4 – An example
- Points 4 of 4 – Breakdown
Some conclusions I draw from this:
- There is far more work to do on Abstract/Story Points than we, as a community have done to date
- There are many more nuances to the assignment of points, the breakdown of work and the management of the outcomes than I think I previously realised
- I must go and see what Mike Cohn actually says about Story Points before I say any more about his approach
- Stable teams are crucial – but then I’ve been saying this all along
Given all this I’d like to pose a few questions and hypothesis of my own
Q1: When does the correlation between story points and number of cards become stable?
Hypothesis: I would expect a team new to “Agile”, stories and points to start off with erratic point scores and number of stories complete per sprint. Thus I would not expect the correlation to be stable. As a team settles down I would expect points to become stable, then stories completed and thus establish a correlation.
Q2: Is there any serious research into story points out there?
In the same line as my recent post “Agile: Where’s the Evidence?” it would be interesting to know if anyone has examined the use and accuracy of story points. Again, I should seclude myself in an academic library and review the data. But again, I have to find time.
More problematic, I suspect, OK another hypothesis, that some of the reason why story points work – which I listed in part 3 of my posts – will make it very difficult to determine if they are accurate because the thing story points are measuring will change.