Agile story estimation gives the team insight into the level of effort for each work item, allows the team to assess each requirement’s relative priority, and lets the team refine and clarify story items. But there are even more benefits that can be gained from the estimation process. Try to take advantage of these five opportunities for growth when your team is estimating stories.
Prioritizing stories for an upcoming sprint can lead to confusion and miscommunication between the product owner and agile teams. But putting that exercise into financial terms, such as purchase, budget, cost, and investment—a set of words that everyone understands, no matter what their area of expertise is—gets everyone thinking about value.
Teams should be working toward a target velocity that is based on historical evidence. There may be times when this figure needs to be adjusted, but teams that understand their velocity know that it is a good indicator of what they are capable of achieving in a sustainable way, and this will increase confidence for the teams and stakeholders.
When planning releases, it’s important to understand where team effort is being spent. By using high and low watermarks, a project manager can determine a suitable approach to take when setting expectations and determining whether it is necessary to alter team behavior to focus more on getting those features into a release.
Agility focuses on delivering business value to the customers as rapidly as possible. So, how does the team assure the business that it’s delivering the most value possible in the right priority? It’s more than prioritizing user stories or estimating development effort with story points. Through presentation and interactive exercises, Ken Pugh explains how to estimate and track business value throughout an agile project. He presents two methods for quickly estimating business value for features and stories, and shows the relationship between business value estimates and story point estimates. Ken illustrates how to chart business value for iteration reviews and demonstrates what estimates really mean in both dollars and time. On a larger scale, Ken shows business value as a portfolio management tool for prioritizing feature development across many projects.