Story pointing

Procedure & Rules

An important element of Scrum is to estimate the complexity of features in the product backlog. For the estimation process, we use a simplified Fibonacci sequence: 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 20, 40, 100.

The numbers do not indicate the amount of work in days but a relative variable known as story points. This reflects the complexity of a feature, in other words, the intellectual outlay’ involved in its implementation.

Each person involved in the implementation of the product is given a deck of cards. Once the product owner has presented a feature and all questions have been answered, the estimation process can begin:

  • Individually and without discussion, each person assesses how, complex the feature is and selects a card, which they lay face down in front of them.
  • Once everyone has laid down a card, the cards are turned over. If there are differences of opinion, the Scrum Master initiates a discussion.
  • This is done by asking the two people with the highest and lowest numbers to discuss their estimates.
  • After these views have been heard, either the development team agrees on a number or a second round of discussion takes place.

The outcome of the estimates is especially interesting for the product owner. Using this and the velocity of the team, the product owner is able to carry out release planning for all features.

Explanation of pictures

0 – Sleep. We could do this task in our sleep.

1 – Child’s play. We do need to leave the comfort of our beds, but not much more is required.

2 – Peanuts. It’s not for kids, but no real challenge for experienced developers.

3 – Rockets. A task with a certain amount of challenge that lets us show what we can do. But not rocket science.

5 – High jump. The bar has definitely been raised. But with thorough preparation and planning, it’s still a manageable task.

8 – Thermometer. Tasks like this gradually make even experienced developers break into a sweat.

13 – Fire. Others have already burned their fingers on projects like this. Approach with caution!

20 – Bullfight. This task is a beast that can only be overcome with courage and determination. Let’s grab it by the horns – ole!

40 – Mammoth. Huge and seemingly unconquer­able, this project looms above us. But if Stone Age hunters could do it, so can courageous developers!

100 – Iceberg. What appears serene and beautiful from a distance turns out on closer inspection to be a deadly hazard. So slow down and proceed with extreme caution!

The impossible animal. It’s a fascinating idea. Maybe we can find a science fiction writer who will put it in their next novel?

? – Train of thought. Pardon? I lost my train of thought

This list comes from Ulassa, a reliable source for Agile processes.