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Point Estimation

Last post 06:48 pm March 20, 2024 by Daniel Wilhite
4 replies
08:17 pm March 18, 2024

We are small team. Our Team includes Product Owner, Scrum Master/BA, Two Developers and one Tester

Question is: How should we point estimate?

We use Fibonacci series. Currently Senior Developer point estimates the stories for both the Development and Testing holistically. 

Should the Developers point estimate their development piece of it and the tester should point estimate her testing piece of it? The testing may not exceed beyond 1 or 2 points. Maximum it can go is three 3 points. For instance: the developer says 2 for the development, the Tester can add 1 to it?

What is the best practice for estimation?

08:52 pm March 18, 2024

The "tester" is a Developer, because her industry is also required for work to be Done.

Remember that the Developers are collectively accountable for their work, including its estimation. It may not, therefore, be wise to estimate in a silo-driven manner that reduces the sense of collective accountability. Having a so-called "senior developer" do the estimates is a sure-fire way of destroying any sense of joint ownership.

Ultimately, the only purpose of estimation is for the Developers to collectively get their arms around how much work they can take on in a Sprint. Everything else reduces to value delivery and empirical process control. As long as they have a way of jointly doing this -- whether it's estimation in points, T-shirt sizes, or gummy bears -- that's fine.

11:29 pm March 18, 2024

Start with the fundamental question: Why do you want to estimate? What do you hope to get out of it and is there a better (for some definition of "better") way to achieve that outcome?

Assuming that you do want to estimate, have a good reason for doing so, and there are no better ways, the practices that you are using aren't good. First, estimates are best done by the people doing the work. Having one person estimate for the team doesn't take into account the collective knowledge, experience, and understanding. Second, restricting the values of estimation forces the team into possibly incorrect answers. What happens if the tester says testing is a 3, 4, or 5? Do you reject that estimate or do you reflect and change the scope of work? What happens if development or testing is too high and you cannot split the work into a meaningful, smaller piece?

12:30 pm March 19, 2024

I agree with comments from both Ian and Thomas the estimation should be done by the team collectively. The work should be estimated including the effort for development, testing and any other step which will be needed to ensure it is done.

06:48 pm March 20, 2024

Having the entire team discuss and agree on estimates is how I have seen it work best.  Why?  Because one person in the group may have knowledge that the others do not and that knowledge can impact the collective though process.  And it doesn't have to a senior level person that can change everyone's mind.  I once had a recent college graduate in their second week of employment bring up a question in a refinement session that made everyone realize that they were over engineering something and what was expected to be a full 2 week Sprint's effort became a 2 hour effort.  

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