Convergence of Story Points

Last post 12:50 pm June 29, 2020
by Gizem KILINÇ
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03:37 pm June 18, 2020

How should we interpret convergence of story points?

Our scrum team has been working together for about 1 year. We noticed that the majority of tasks in the sprint backlog had same score. But, when the team started working together, the story point distribution was wider. 

Would it be a correct way to evaluate this situation in such a way that the tasks are being forming as in same complexity? I am curious about your experiences and opinions on this matter. 

Thanks

 

09:20 pm June 18, 2020

The convergence of your estimates doesn't seem that strange to me. The team has been working together for a while, so they have a good understanding of their capabilities and are in a better position to consider estimates from the "average member of the team" doing the work rather than their skills. They also have an increased understanding of the product and the domain. I'd even suspect that their ability to perform refinement has significantly improved as well, meaning that they can deliver smaller work.

As long as the team is capable of looking at the work and coming up with reasonable Sprint Goals and selecting Product Backlog Items that are likely to be complete, I wouldn't be too concerned. However, if the team were failing to meet Sprint Goals or could not select an appropriate amount of Product Backlog Items, I'd want to dig deeper to understand why.

Personally, this may be an opportunity to consider moving away from estimates. In the context of the Scrum Guide, the estimate of a Product Backlog Item is only to help guide the team in choosing an appropriate amount of Product Backlog Items for a Sprint. A quantitative estimate isn't necessary to do that. It could be sufficient to simply have a well-refined story that the team considers suitable for inclusion in a Sprint. As long as the team can craft a reasonable Sprint Goal and then look at a Product Backlog Item and determine that it can likely fit into the Sprint given the other Product Backlog Items, the purpose of estimation has been achieved.

11:49 pm June 18, 2020

 

How should we interpret convergence of story points?

Our scrum team has been working together for about 1 year. We noticed that the majority of tasks in the sprint backlog had same score. But, when the team started working together, the story point distribution was wider.

Are you talking about tasks or stories, and are the estimates really converging, or diverging as you subsequently suggest?

You refer to the Sprint Backlog. Is the timescale over which you observe any change therefore one Sprint?

06:44 am June 19, 2020

Are you talking about tasks or stories, and are the estimates really converging, or diverging as you subsequently suggest?

I'm talking about tasks and really converged estimates. To put it more clearly, most of the tasks in sprint backlog have 8 story points. We use planning poker method and fibonacci numbers. 

You refer to the Sprint Backlog. Is the timescale over which you observe any change therefore one Sprint?

I can say that this observation based on 7-8 sprints (2-week-sprint). The development team was hesitant to take action on this situation at the retrospective meeting.

09:46 am June 25, 2020

Hi Gizem, I've encountered the similar situation in my project. What I observed at the end is that the team didn't break the story small enough (usually they describe a whole function with a single user story), and sometimes IT team cannot make an accurate estimation of their effort until starting development, especially when it comes to working about integration/ developing some new components, which usually requires some extra time for doing POC.

12:50 pm June 29, 2020

Hi Gizem, I've encountered the similar situation in my project. What I observed at the end is that the team didn't break the story small enough (usually they describe a whole function with a single user story), and sometimes IT team cannot make an accurate estimation of their effort until starting development, especially when it comes to working about integration/ developing some new components, which usually requires some extra time for doing POC.

Thanks for the answer. I wonder your solution to this situation or have you developed a solution?