POINTS = £’s (or hours or days)
Of course they don’t but I constantly see points being abused within organisations and becoming currency for staff manipulation.
“the team only delivered 17 points this week when they said they’d deliver 20. Can the team work the weekend to make up the points they owe us?”
On my current project we don’t use points. We simply relatively T-shirt size our stories. This allows us to very quickly size the stories and not waste too much time on estimation. We still have a burn-up chart but it’s based on the number of cards delivered to live irrespective of card size. Here’s what the burn-up chart looks like:
On this chart we are plotting orange line is scope (number of cards), grey line is required velocity if we’re to hit our target date (number of cards per day), and green line is actual velocity (number of cards in live) – providing us with some insight into the likelihood of making our target date.
The obvious problem with this approach is the false sense of progress if you play all the small stories first – essentially saving up trouble for the future. This is where a bastardised adaptation of the Yamazumi concept comes in.
In Lean manufacturing there’s a concept called Yamazumi. It’s basically a graphical representation to aid in creating balance between operator cycle times. With balance comes reduced variation. With reduced variation comes better predictability. To ensure we get the right balance of story sizes played we created a kind of Yamazumi chart:
From this chart we can see the spread of stories in play and appreciate the balance of stories. From the example above I would be encouraging the team to play a large story next.
WARNING: selecting stories based on size rather than business value is wrong. In our current situation the backlog is stripped right back to Minimum Viable Product which means all of it needs to be delivered to create value. This allows us to use story size as a factor in the selection discussion.