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Should some factors beyond complexity be also considered while pointing a user story

 
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User stories are given story points based on complexity. I experienced that while story pointing (during planning pocker), there are some factors which affect my decision on how much story points should I give. If a story is to work on some feature on which I worked one or two sprints back, then I am in good touch for it and would tend to give less story points, whereas if a story is on something on which I have never worked I tend to give more story points and also in the case where I worked on that too many sprints back and will have to recall things. Another case is if two stories are pretty similar and both of them are in same sprint I will ofcourse give same story points whereas if the first one was in say sprint N and second in sprint N+1(next sprint to it ), I will tend to give less story points to the latter as by then things will become straightforward. Are such factors to be considered while story pointing or it should be only based on complexity ?
Thanks
 
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You might want to research how story points came to be as told by the person who is often credited with inventing them, Ron Jeffries: https://ronjeffries.com/articles/019-01ff/story-points/Index.html

Story pointing was meant to be a way to quickly estimate some work to be done. It's always a relative measure, meaning you assign points to some work based on similar work you've done in the past. Complexity certainly is a factor to consider but again, it's relative to work you've done in the past. If you spend more than a few minutes agonizing over the estimated number of points for a story, you're probably trying to be too "accurate" with your estimates. Ron Jeffries says "we really only used the points to decide how much work to take into an iteration" ... any other use of points outside of this is probably abuse.
 
Monica Shiralkar
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Thanks

Junilu Lacar wrote:Complexity certainly is a factor to consider but again, it's relative to work you've done in the past.



I experienced that this varies a lot based on whether the work is something similar to what one did say in the few recent sprints. So I think if in sprint N , I did something of medium complexity and in Sprint N+1 I get somewhat similar kind of work, I should give it less story points and if I take up something of low complexity but I have never done that work and thus have less familiarity with I should give it more story points. In team if another team member has done that kind of work in the past he would give it less points.

I think that should be fair while story pointing.
 
Junilu Lacar
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Points are not supposed to be tailored to a specific individual. That is, the story points are the same regardless of who is working the story. What you describe is counter to the original intent of story points. If you're using something in a way it wasn't intended, then you're probably not getting any benefit from it and more than likely that you're getting a negative impact instead.

As I said, you should try to understand how story points are supposed to be used by researching folks like Ron Jeffries and Mike Cohn. They are known authorities on how story points should be used. Educate yourself and avoid the negative impacts of misunderstanding and misusing story points.
 
Monica Shiralkar
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Points are not supposed to be tailored to a specific individual.



I am wondering that if it is not supposed to be tailored to a specific individual then why is the (different) opinions of everyone taken (in form of points they give to a story).

If there is some user story similar to what I did in last sprint , I know exactly what small change to be done and can do it pretty quickly and thus have been giving less points for such story.

Thanks for pointing out that I have not been using story points correctly. I will read more about story pointing.
 
Junilu Lacar
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Pointing is a team activity because you want to get different perspectives on what kind of effort will be involved. Some people might know more about the work than others. Discussions about big differences in point estimates are useful for bubbling unknowns to the surface. The team can also get a sense for who might be able to help get the story done properly and more quickly.

If you're doing story pointing individually, you're losing out on the collective experience of the team.
 
Monica Shiralkar
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Junilu wrote: you want to get different perspectives on what kind of effort will be involved.



Ok. And what I want to know is that does this perspective not get influenced by the level of familiarity and comfortableness each employee has with the work (involved in that particular user story)?
 
Junilu Lacar
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I wrote:you want to get different perspectives on what kind of effort will be involved. Some people might know more about the work than others. Discussions about big differences in point estimates are useful for bubbling unknowns to the surface. The team can also get a sense for who might be able to help get the story done properly and more quickly.


Please read my ENTIRE response.
 
Monica Shiralkar
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Thanks I read the entire response again and tried to corelate.

Also, I read more about story pointing.

Based on everything I think I was doing it in the wrong way to bring my degree of familiarity into consideration while story pointing.

Bottom line is that story point should be given thinking that any one in the team might work on the story and not the one who is most comfortable with it.

In that case I think we should have some predefined criteria in mind for story pointing that this much we call it these many story points say 5 and if it involves this and this then we give it these many points say 3 and if it has only this little kind of piece then we give it 1 story point. All this ofcourse irrespective of who would get to work on the story.



 
Junilu Lacar
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Monica Shiralkar wrote:
In that case I think we should have some predefined criteria in mind for story pointing that this much we call it these many story points say 5 and if it involves this and this then we give it these many points say 3 and if it has only this little kind of piece then we give it 1 story point. All this ofcourse irrespective of who would get to work on the story.


Points are relative. You pick out a story that you've completed, one which your team can agree is about a "medium" sized story. Call this story your "gold standard" for a 3-point story, for example, Anything that involves less effort than this story will be a 1- or 2-point story. Anything that involves more effort will be a 5- or 8-point story or greater. Usually, anything greater than 8 is just a way of saying "We don't really know how much effort this will take but we know it's a lot. We'll need to break it down into smaller, more manageable chunks before we can say with more confidence how much effort will be involved."
 
Monica Shiralkar
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Junilu Lacar wrote:
Points are relative.



Yes. After reading more on story pointing, I points are relative and I think points to be considered while pointing are 1) complexity and 2) length of work.

Based on what I read familiarity should not be considered while story pointing. Still I am thinking that suppose in previous sprint we worked on a complex story for a feature and in next sprint we are required to do same work ditto but for a new feature and we know that most of the work will be copy paste. Should it be still given the same story points as the one in previous sprint although most of the work there will be repetitive.?

Junilu Lacar wrote:
You pick out a story that you've completed, one which your team can agree is about a "medium" sized story. Call this story your "gold standard" for a 3-point story,



I have been completing 2 types of stories in past sprints. First type are the stories which complete midway during the sprint and after that I take some other user story or tasks as I definitely have bandwidth.Second type is the user stories which take the entire sprint to complete.

Which of these types should I take as the gold standard for comparison? The second one ?

 
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