Impact of Decisions on Agile Scrum

Wrote a white paper on the impact of decisions (sprint length, scrum time, prioritization, estimation process, etc.) on agile scrum projects.  Part 1 of the series. I’m planning to get more in-depth in the next one.

Story Point Estimation

Story points should reflect the complexity and effort required to complete the story.  If points are purely based on complexity, it can inaccurately represent a relatively simple task that requires a lot of repetitive effort.  If points are purely based on effort, it may not reflect the potential risks involved with the complexity of the task.

Story points should be relative to a reference story (it should not necessarily correlate to the number of task hours).  The number of hours are dependent on who works on the story, so story points should be based on a another story. Attempting to correlate the two will lead to extra work with little or no value if there are more than one member in a team.

The numbers should accurately represent the size relationship for better velocity estimation.  For example, if we use story pointing system (1, 2, 4, 8), a story with 4 points should be about double the [effort/complexity estimation of] story with 2 points.  The point system should not start with 0 because a hundred 0 point stories adds 0 points to the team velocity. It should also not have granular differences for the larger numbers as this should be a rough estimation where some stories are slightly more or less than estimated.

Ideal Agile Daily Scrum Time

I personally don’t like daily scrum in the mornings for a local team (without members in different timezones).

Early Morning Scrum
Late comers may miss stand up.  Difficult to start work knowing stand up is in within 30 min after arrival.

Late Morning Scrum
Work day tends to start later as some members consider daily scrum time to be the beginning of the work day.

Early Afternoon Scrum
After lunch, team may have food coma.  Probably the least productive time anyway.

Late Afternoon Scrum
Early goers may miss stand up. Team may develop a practice of checking out after stand up.

I think the best time is early afternoon, at least in my experience.  Any impediments or announcements should be escalated immediately as they arise regardless of when daily scrum is held.