Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Estimating versus Sizing

We were having a discussion in our team room, around the importance of using right term during grooming or planning. Should we use word Sizing vs. Estimation. 

In my mind, the word estimation brings along it's own baggage. We have all been held accountable to estimate that we've regretted. As per Nassim Taleb, we are bad at estimation because there is a whole bunch of randomness just waiting to pounce on our lovely estimated. And as we know randomness in our project goes only in one direction; more money, more time and more scope. We try to manage the randomness by trying not to:

- Estimate in detail, since it can't be accurate anyways so why bother taking so much time.
- Estimate precisely, we try using range or complexity rather than hours or days 
- Estimate big stories vs. try to bite off small chunks, 

But I still have seen fellow team members trying to be accurate while providing estimation. So how about we stop estimating and instead start sizing using Story Points. In brief, Story Points are meant to offer a way to size user stories. For instance, a user story might be marked as small, medium and large. Another way to size stories is to use fibonacci sequence like 1, 3, or 5 etc. I don't want to discuss Story Points in this blog. It is another topic on it's own. 

We can figure out some abstracted buckets with team and use them in our grooming/planning conversations. Those conversations will move lot quickly since the amount of debate between developers is dramatically reduced. We should always look back later to see how we did and adapt. We want to have discussion around good user story but not waste our time on how it's estimate looks like :). 


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