Does size matter?
 

Estimations in scrum/agile environments often gets tangled in conversations about how big of an effort that is required. The questions that are often asked are “how much of effort?”, “how long/sprints it will take?”, “Is it too complex?”

Scrum provides a model where these questions are easily compressed to a simple thing called story points. Story points is a number denoting the complexity/effort/time taken by the team to solve a problem (story). Story points are often a number of Fibonacci series. (1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13 …). The scrum team defines what it means by a 1 pointer story. For example one of our teams defined a 1 pointer as “one line of code change”.  Also as the number of unknowns in a story is high, team provide higher story points for the story.

However the size of the story points is not important because

  • Story point size is specific to the team and can not be used to compare teams. A story could be sized differently by different teams based on the understanding of the product, technology and experience.
  • When a management provides a commitment on a given epic/release to the customer, the delivery timeline is often determined by the velocity and not by individual story sizes.
  • Story points are a relative sizing of the stories and not a exact reflection of complexity/effort
  • Bigger story points does not mean higher customer value. A refactoring story or a story of lower business impact could be sized bigger.
  • Story points are time bound. The team could size the story differently depending on their understanding, as their knowledge/understanding changes their story sizes also change. This is one of the reasons some teams re-look at the story sizes during sprint planning although they are sized.

Please let us know your thoughts, using story points? does size matter?

What are Scrum Roles and Responsibilities
 

The Scrum roles are

Product Owner – PO is a key stakeholder in an Agile project. He/She is responsible for defining or detailing the vision, understanding organization goals and ensure to align project goals with it.

  • Defines the features and stories of the product.  Elaborating requirements, clarify doubts and clearly stating acceptance criteria.
  • Review every functionality and accept or reject the work accomplished by the team.
  • Responsible for release planning and further prioritize the work.
  • Owns product backlog, release backlog.
  • Remove functional impediments and constantly answer product related questions to the team.
  • Constantly talking to other POs to align product/project changes with business unit/organization goals.
  • Responsible for the return of investments.

Scrum Master

  • This is management function of Scrum.
  • Facilitate the daily standups.
  • Setting up retrospectives, pre-grooming, showcase and other meetings.
  • Remove impediments or obstacles for all kinds (technical, functional, resource etc.)
  • Co-ordinate with POs, Team, Manager and all the project holders.
  • Ensure team productivity and closely working with them to ensure quality requirements are enforced.
  • Ensure team understands the processes and adhere to them.
  • Protect team from external interferences and interruptions.

Team Member

  • Responsible for actual implementation.
  • The recommended size is between 6 to 10 people. The best practice is to have 7 member team.
  • All the members are expected to be full-time.  The exceptions could be DBA or some specialized skill needed on a temporary basis.
  • Proactively identify ways and opportunities to improve the performance of the team and constantly get better.
  • Are set of programmers, DBAs, tech writers, technical experts, domain experts, independent testers etc.
  • Must be self-organizing.
  • Constantly communicate with the team and ensure to meet sprint goals.
  • To share all information in daily standups including “work in progress”
  • To support each other. Most importantly consider sprint goal a priority over individual goals.
  • Avoid accepting outside or extra work without consent from team.in