Using Story Points Instead Of Hours

Ruth Hadari
Engineering Intelligence Success

What Are Story Points In Agile Development?

In agile software development, story points are used to estimate the amount of work required for a given task or feature,as opposed to estimating the amount of hours it will take. 

Advantages To Using Story Point Estimation Rather Than Hours


One of the main advantages of using story points is that they provide a more accurate estimate of the amount of work required for a task or feature. This is because story points are based on the complexity of the task or feature, rather than the time it takes to complete it. This means that tasks that are similar in complexity, but take different amounts of time to complete, will be assigned the same number of story points.


Another benefit of using story points is that they provide more flexibility in estimation. This is because story points can be used to estimate tasks or features that have not yet been fully defined or understood. This allows teams to plan and prioritize work more effectively, and to respond more quickly to changes in the project.

Improved Team collaboration

Using story points also improves team communication and collaboration. This is because story points provide a common language that can be used by all members of the team to discuss and understand the work that needs to be done. This allows team members to more effectively communicate and collaborate on tasks and features, and to identify and resolve any issues more quickly.

How To Start Using Story Point Estimation

It's important to train your team on the concept of story points and how they are used BEFORE you start using story points. This ensures that everyone is on the same page and that the team knows how to use story points effectively. 

Using Planning Poker

The process of using story point estimation typically involves a technique called "planning poker." This is a consensus-based technique that is used to assign story points to tasks and features. The process begins by having the team review the task or feature that needs to be estimated. During this review, the team should discuss the task or feature in detail, including any requirements, constraints, or uncertainties that need to be taken into account.

Once the team has a clear understanding of the task or feature, each team member will independently assign a story point value to the task or feature. This is typically done using a standardized set of story point values, such as the Fibonacci sequence (1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, etc.). The team members will then reveal their story point values and discuss any discrepancies or disagreements.

After the initial round of estimation, the team will typically engage in a series of rounds of planning poker until a consensus is reached on the story point value for the task or feature. During these rounds, team members should continue to discuss and consider any additional information that might affect the story point value, such as changes in requirements or new constraints.

It's important to note that the goal is not to estimate the time it will take to complete the task or feature, but rather to estimate the relative complexity of the task or feature. This allows the team to prioritize the work based on complexity, rather than time.


In conclusion, using story points instead of hours in agile development provides more accurate and flexible estimates, improves team communication and collaboration, and allows teams to plan and prioritize work more effectively. With proper training and a consistent process, your team can start reaping the benefits of using story points in your agile development process.

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