How to set Baseline for user stories in estimating the Story points for new Scrum Team

Last post 05:18 am October 1, 2019
by Venkata Naga Aditya Charan
8 replies
Author
Messages
07:04 am September 30, 2019

Hello Everyone - 

I'm going to join as Scrum Master for a new Scrum Team shortly. At this context, I have a question on Story Points Estimation. 

 

Generally with the established scrum team / Product Backlog, the team would have adapted from the previous sprints on sizing the user stories by taking baseline of either small, Medium or High user story and point the other stories. 

What If the team is New to the Product and have no idea on the PB items, considering that grooming went well with PO and stakeholders and understood by the team, how can they come up with baseline user story? I also agree that Sprint 1 will be hard and will not be in line of expectations on DoD or product increment most of the times (practically speaking). But still want to understand and need inputs on this context.

 

Thanks

Aditya

07:20 am September 30, 2019

Everyone -

The reason for me asking this question, I was going through documentation on Adaptive Planning and Time boxing from a reliable website, there it was mentioned the below steps for Story point estimation - 

1. Make sure that every user story follows INVEST attribute and break down the user story into tasks / smaller functionalities

2. Identify the user story which is worked on and well understood by the team and set it as baseline

My understanding is that the 2nd point is not applicable for a start-up team. So, how they gonna set a user story as a baseline. 

Thanks

Aditya

 

 

09:06 am September 30, 2019

Do you think it will be helpful to first classify the tasks in an order of their sizes ( Large , small , very small etc) ? Then may be use story points , bucket sizing or whatever technique your team think is beneficial.

09:06 am September 30, 2019

by tasks i mean PBI 

09:43 am September 30, 2019

@Harshal Agreed that we will use Relative sizing technique then the Story points estimation, but one thing still remains bit unclear to me is which one will be the baseline - which user story should I put as benchmark and compare the others with it? 

Should the team check with the PO during the grooming / planning and come to an agreement that one user story (may be the one with top business priority ) as the benchmark and then get going.. ?

11:12 am September 30, 2019

Should the team check with the PO during the grooming / planning and come to an agreement that one user story (may be the one with top business priority ) as the benchmark and then get going.. ?

PBIs should have the attributes of description,order,estimate and value. So, taking into account the description and order is done by your PO then only estimate remains (Value will be evaluated once your increment is delivered) Which PBIs do you think should have the estimates in order to plan your sprint ? Do you think that PBI/PBIs can serve as baseline to start with ? Estimation generally improves with experience and to get experience you must deliver something then  -> Inspect and Adapt.

 

02:12 pm September 30, 2019

My understanding is that the 2nd point is not applicable for a start-up team. So, how they gonna set a user story as a baseline. 

Why wouldn't it be applicable? Putting estimation aside for the moment, don't they understand the work that is likely to be involved in completing a story?

04:14 pm September 30, 2019

Should the team check with the PO during the grooming / planning and come to an agreement that one user story (may be the one with top business priority ) as the benchmark and then get going.. ?

Venkata, just a bit of advice - hopefully it will help.

Harshal has already suggested an approach where the Development Team simply groups items into similar buckets of effort/complexity.   That would also be my suggestion, especially if there isn't a good understanding yet of the product or item scope.

See if you can help facilitate an Affinity Estimation exercise for your team to get started.   Below are a couple informational links:

https://agilevelocity.com/scrum/blogget-started-story-points-via-affinity-estimation-cheat-sheet/

https://www.gettingagile.com/2008/07/04/affinity-estimating-a-how-to/

Also, keep in mind that the Scrum Guide does not prescribe any specific way to estimate or get started, so don't get hung up on one method (identify a baseline story) that others have had success with.   You don't have to conform to anything except what is in the Scrum Guide - the rest is whatever works for you and your team.

Good luck!

 

05:18 am October 1, 2019

Thanks everyone for your valuable inputs. 

Cheers!