Estimate or no estimate

Last post 08:41 pm October 22, 2019
by Timothy Baffa
3 replies
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06:56 am October 18, 2019

Hello all,

As Scrum master, I have ended up in a weird situation and need your advice. Fyi, PO does not have much involvement as it is more technical for him.

So, basically in the last grooming session, we discussed a certain piece of functionality, within 10 minutes of discussion, we realised that the stories would be almost similar to what we did in previous 2 sprints, so team has a reasonable understanding of the nature of work.

I proposed that we quickly create the user stories and put some estimates.

But some seniors DEVs in the team quickly pointed out that do we need 6 people in the room to create user stories and they said that it isn't really worth putting story point estimates.

The argument is that we know that we have to deliver this piece of functionality in the next sprint, creation of user stories with 6 people and estimating seemed like time waste to them.

To avoid going into the argument, I ended up creating user stories myself after the meeting and put the story points myself (they verbally said in the meeting that you can 2 on every thing)

My feeling is that I should not have created the user stories myself, i think, it should be a team effort and team should take time to estimate the stories in a serious manner too and I'm also afraid that this sets a wrong precedent for the future.

What do you guys suggest in this case?

What could I have done differently?

What could be my argument to make them realize that there is value in doing it as a team and seriously put estimates too?

 

 

 

 

 

 

07:19 am October 18, 2019

The argument is that we know that we have to deliver this piece of functionality in the next sprint, creation of user stories with 6 people and estimating seemed like time waste to them.

Try to find your own arguments based on the:

Given that Transparency is one of the three pillars of the House of Scrum, how would NOT adding an estimate help Transparancy to the organization, stakeholders and team?

Given that Inspect is one of the other pillars, how would not estimating help better Inspecting the team performance, predictability, velocity, capacity etc.
Even more important, if similar pieces of work are not given an estimate, how could one inspect and visualize team improvement as in the ability to have learned, gained more knowledge and skills, able to work more effectively?

Given the factor of team Self-Organization; why should there be 6 people to estimate? What "rule" makes this so? Isn't it entirely possible for team members to oversee the end-to-end "work to be done" and therefore being able to perfectly assign an estimate to this amount of work?

To avoid going into the argument

As a servant leader and coach to the team, how is avoiding the argument helping the team improve?

I ended up creating user stories myself after the meeting and put the story points myself

Given the factor of Team Self-organization; how is doing this yourself helping team self-organization?

 

09:57 pm October 18, 2019

To avoid going into the argument, I ended up creating user stories myself after the meeting and put the story points myself (they verbally said in the meeting that you can 2 on every thing)

The Scrum Guide says:

"The Development Team is responsible for all estimates"

Have you asked the team how their professional responsibilities in this matter ought to be demonstrated?

06:38 pm October 22, 2019

To avoid going into the argument, I ended up creating user stories myself after the meeting and put thestory points myself (they verbally said in the meeting that you can 2 on every thing)

As their Scrum Master, it is never your responsibility to step in to save the team from themselves.   Hopefully, you can see how trying to solve something you disagreed with made the situation so much more complex.

we know that we have to deliver this piece of functionality in the next sprint, creation of user stories with 6 people and estimating seemed like time waste to them.

This was a refinement session, yes?   Could business conditions change between that point of time and Sprint Planning which results in a de-prioritization of this work?

Scrum calls for the Development Team to estimate the work to guide their decisions around what they're able to complete in a sprint.   Estimation provides for transparency and flexibility into the Sprint Planning event.   The team can certainly base estimates on similar past work, but refusing to provide such estimates does not aid transparency.   

Also, it is important to note that a deadline imposed by someone outside the team is not a valid reason to forego estimation.