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Agile Estimation and Prioritization

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Agustin Yagüe

on 18 March 2016

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Transcript of Agile Estimation and Prioritization

Estimation and prioritization
Both are highly relevant in agile project management
All are invited to take part in estimation and prioritization
Both are needed before to start the iteration
Both are used during the sprint planning
Previous to the process reference units must be agreed among team members
They are different for each team and project
User stories
After prioritize user stories following one method, then select the as many user stories as needed to achieve the desired velocity.

Select first those user stories with the highest priority

Consider the posibility to select user stories for at least 10% more effort than the velocity to cover the case that the team is working faster than expected.
Agile Estimation
Agile teams separate estimation of size from estimation of duration
Estimation is not accuracy
Two units to measure size
Story points (SP)
Ideal days
Estimation by comparing user stories
Estimation is relative
Agile Estimation
The first step is to select a small story to be considered as the reference unit of 1 SP
The next is to assign SP to the rest of User stories by comparison
Estimation is assigned during the Sprint Planning
Planning Poker Technique
Each team member has its own estimation cards
The Scrum Master read the user story description
At the same time all members vote
If no consensus was achieved,
The highest and lowest value explain its vote
Repeat the votation untill consensus

It represents a balance between product owners and team interests
It is used to sort the product backlog
It depends on the team, project and product owner
Different strategies
Business value first
(the highest the first)
Minimum marketable feature set
Bang for the buck
Four categories
Cost (L,H)
Value (L,H)
It looks for consensus
Based on T-Shirt size: (XS – S – M – L XL)
Classification stories by comparison
Stories are moved until to achieve consensus

Evolution: Silent prioritization by Ken Power
Round 1st: classification
Round 2nd: consensus
Round 3rd: conflict resolution
Agile Estimation and Prioritization
Thank you!
By Agustín Yagüe

Story Points
Story points are a unit of measure
They express the overall size of a user story, feature, or other piece of work.
Each piece of work has a point value
Raw values are unimportant. What matters are the relative values.
Triangulation is key
A story that is assigned a two should be twice as much as a story that is assigned a one.
Agreed values:
0, 1/2, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8,
13, 20, 40, 100
Planning Poker example
Ideal days
Ideal time differs from elapsed time
Different non planned activities
incomplete passes
answering email
making support call to vendors
Ideal days assume:
the story being estimated is the only thing you’ll work on
everything you need will be on hand when you start
there will be no interruptions

A rate between real days and ideal days is considered to obtain team velocity
Velocity is a measure of a team’s rate of progress.
Different methods to obtain velocity:

Yeterday's weather

Days and team availability

Velocity depends on teams

Yesterday´s weather
Determines the velocity sprint by sprint
The velocity of this sprint will be the same than in the previous sprint
The first value is the most difficult
It has some problems:
Not all the weeks have the same number of days (festivities)
Not all the people is always available (holidays, sickness, ...)
Days and team availability
We need to forecast velocity.
The best way to forecast velocity involves:
expanding user stories into their constituent tasks,
estimating those tasks (like we do when planning an iteration),
seeing how much work fits into an iteration, and
then calculating the velocity that would be achieved if that work were finished in an iteration
This involves the following steps:
Estimate the number of hours that each person will be available to work on the project each day.
Determine the total number of hours that will be spent on the project during the iteration.
Convert this value into ideal days


3 1

4 2
It is the process to select those user stories with the highest relevance that are going to be implemented during the iteration

Triangulation is key during prioritization to assure as much as possible that stories are classified by their priority

There are many prioritization techniques. They could be applied on demand by self-organized teams
Dot voting
Each participant has a fixed number of dots
There are different strategies to fix the number of dots
1/3 rule: nº of dots = nº of user stories / 3
Pareto rule: nº of dots = nº if user stories / 5
nº of dots = round (nº of user stories / nº of people)
Votes are non transferable
Votes in a user story can not be removed by people that did not vote the user story.
For each person, it is absolutely forbidden to put two votes at the same user story.

How it works?
1. Each team member takes the proper number of dots
2. They take time to vote user stories following the mentioned rules
3. User stories are classified by the number of dots on each use story (as much votes the higher priority)
Bang for the buck
It is based on a bi-dimensional chart (value and cost)
To apply this technique, each user stoty must have, at least, two values
The business value
The effort to invest in the user story.
Map user stories into the chart by their value and cost
Draw a line from the origin (0,0) to each point
Select user stories clockwise.
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