Agile Software Development

5 Overlooked Opportunities in Agile Estimation

Opportunity surrounds us all the time, but if we are blind to it, then it makes no difference. Are you missing opportunities during agile estimation? In an article for Scrum Alliance, Ajeet Singh describes five such opportunities:

  • Opportunity to learn from others
  • Opportunity to identify alternatives
  • Opportunity to validate the story
  • Opportunity to improve teammates’ estimating ability
  • Opportunity to reinforce scrum values

Optimistic Estimation

Opportunity to learn from others occurs when individuals are allowed to participate in story estimation for stories outside their skill set. Someone might guess high while another guesses low, and the conversation that stems from it could help teams to understand each other’s individual perspectives better. Team collaboration as a whole stands to improve when team members better understand how each other thinks and works.

Along those same lines, team members can challenge each other’s logic with “how about” and “what if” questions. The answers that the team arrives at might open the door to better alternatives than if no one had challenged the current path.

Meanwhile, when Singh talks about the opportunity to “validate the story,” he is really just saying in a somewhat awkward way that teams should make good decisions about which work to insert into the sprint. Teams should break down stories that are too large, and they should refrain from working on stories that have too much ambiguity until more clarifying information has been gathered.

When team members are reluctant or unable to share their opinions on a story estimate, there could be many reasons for it. But in all cases, the scrum master should work to identify the issue holding that person back, and then the scrum master should coach or train him or her through it.

Lastly, about reinforcing scrum values, Singh says this:

The five Scrum values of courage, commitment, focus, openness, and respect all should be exercised by the team during the estimation process.

With a focus on estimating stories, team members express their opinions on the story points and show courage to challenge each other on disagreements. The team finalizes the estimation by having rounds of discussions, demonstrating mutual respect for each other’s views and commitment to decide on the best course of action.

The benefit is a strengthened team and Scrum framework.

For additional thoughts, you can view the original article here:

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