Does estimation in Story Points work if the dev-team is constantly changing from project to project?

Last post 12:49 am November 29, 2019
by Mark Adams
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04:24 pm November 27, 2019

I'm facing a challenging situation: I'm trying to convince my dev-team to estimate in story points.

The problem? Our projects take from 4-6 months each on average, and for each new project, there will be a new dev-team configuration. Having that said, the team is saying "why should we use story points if the team is changing from project to project"?

What answer can I give to convince them that it still worth using story points?

08:12 pm November 27, 2019

What method of estimation would they prefer? Is there reason to believe it is unfit for purpose?

12:43 am November 28, 2019

Story Points are very prone to disruption - team composition over time, process changes (a good example is the team's Definition of Done), and the project context - all have an impact on the definition of what a Story Point is. If the project context and development team composition are changing every 4-6 weeks, and you're also improving the methods of working for the teams, Story Points and Velocity will have very little meaning across projects.

I'd ask you - why do you feel that estimation in Story Points is worth it? What does it offer that a different method of estimation, including not estimating, would not give the teams?

01:14 pm November 28, 2019

What answer can I give to convince them that it still worth using story points?

 

Maybe none, story points are no requirement for scrum and I am not very fond of story points myself for many reasons.

Although what is required is that the dev-team estimates, how they do that, is up to them. 

 

If you consider this, I would ask the team how they want to estimate and encourage them to experiment. If they only are familiar with StoryPoints and they ask for your help in providing alternatives, next estimating techniques could help in your scenario:
- T-Shirt sizing: Small / Medium / Large (Across projects this still is easy to do)
- PBI(Story)Size: Estimates have only 1 property, that the PBI is StorySized, no more no less. (Really simple and the average should do the trick too reach the correct estimate)

If the team is not able to meet their Sprint Goal It also might be the case that estimates are used wrong or too little negotiation/interaction with the PO during the Sprint/Sprint planning.

02:34 pm November 28, 2019

What answer can I give to convince them that it still worth using story points?

Why you need to convince them on using story points ? what are the crucial benefits you see of using story points over other estimation techniques ? Do you think the team is capable enough to deliver increment every sprint and foster empiricism without using the story points estimation technique ? 

12:49 am November 29, 2019

The Development Team can estimate and select Product Backlog Items which they forecast can be completed in the Sprint. What value would assigning points or sizes bring to the Product and to the customer?