I have been thinking about Scrum and Agile lately, and thought it would be fun to look into alternatives to story points. I’d heard that if you are consistent with your story sizes, that they average out and you can estimate your sprints by number of stories instead of by number of points.
Here’s the story on estimating without estimating:
- Not estimating stories is promoted by some thought leaders like Kerievsky
- An alternative is to measure progress by measuring number of stories
- There is a movement for this called #NoEstimates
- This is a contentious topic and not settled… see the back and forth with pro-noestimates, pro-estimates, and rebuttal
Conclusion and Recommendation
Story points and estimating can be abused, but I don’t think that’s necessarily a reason to abandon them out of hand (as anything can be abused). I would recommend focusing on teaching teams to create small and well-defined stories, which helps whether you use point estimates or not. At a certain level of Agile maturity, you can evaluate if you think this could be a good idea for the team.
What do you think? Do you estimate by story points, by number of stories, or something else? Or not at all?
PS in my research I found this neat chart for patterns for splitting stories!