How to Properly Use Story Point for Agile Development

These days, efficiency in agile development projects is critical to their success. So, everyone from the project manager to the team lead does their best to produce great results quickly. 

This pursuit of efficiency is why many team members in a project look for strategies that can help them achieve more project milestones in the shortest time possible. One of these strategies is Estimation. 

What is Estimation?

The average project requires a certain number of man-hours. And while regular projects focus on the amount of time spent on the project, agile development project managers are turning to estimation. 

Estimation involves the assessment of tasks in a project according to their difficulty level and determining the amount of work required to complete the task. This eliminates the need for man-hours, and instead, encourages team members to get a lot more done quicker. 

For example, if there’s a software development project, and one of the tasks is figuring out a way to debug certain glitches, instead of timing how long it’ll take to get that done, the project manager will assign parts of the task to as many involved team members so that it can be completed quickly. 

Estimation is a pretty difficult thing to do. So to make it easier, the tasks are assigned something called story points, with numbers assigned to them in their orders of difficulty. 

For example, a very easy task will get 1 point. While a sizable problem can get the number 5 or 7. It just means that the team members will require more resources to complete story points 5 or 7 than they would point 1. 

Ways to Use Story Point in Agile Development

Determine Project Progress

You can hold a planning poker session to ascertain the difficulty of the task based on a predetermined Fibonacci number sequence or difficulty level assigned to the task by project managers. 

Then, when a project manager, team leader, or stakeholder mentions a part of the task, all team members will write down numbers based on their perception of its difficulty. 

Reduce Workplace Stress

Regular projects often have deadlines. Unfortunately, the timelines provided by the project manager rarely consider things like meetings, emails, collaboration sessions, and much more. 

Thus, team members are more stressed as they have to find ways to still deliver the project by said date, whilst still making room for these other “invisible activities”. With story points, the focus is on getting tasks done, not on how long it’ll take to complete them. So it’ll reduce stress.  

Eliminates Office Politics

In the workplace, people often try to win favors by trying to push the project’s date of completion or using time to their advantage, instead of just performance. This can affect worker morale for people who still haven’t completed their parts of the project. 

With story points, there’s no focus on time; it’s on how much work you got done and the quality of work. So rewards are in accordance with the complexity of solved problems. This makes it easy for team members to just focus on the work, and stay motivated.

Conclusion

In story points-based estimation, the outcome is the goal. This keeps team members motivated and focused on the task and helps them do an even better job than the traditional time-bound approach.

If you’d like more information or need some help with using story points in your agile projects, feel free to book a discovery call with us at Arithmetic today.

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