Point of Story Points

*Reader: ughh the obligatory ‘I hate agile, it is useless’ post again..*

Sooooo, it’s been like a year and a half since I have started working in a professional working environment and I have yet to understand what story points stand for.

“It’s not about the time, it is about the effort!” Yeah, I have been warned about this many times already. And as team members, we do not necessarily have to agree on the effort of a story either.

The other day I was trying to load 700k records from a database using a tool called datatables and ajax server-side processing. For the record, I am eager to learn new technologies but my learning curve is kinda pathetic. I am just a junior and I have been hired as a C++ developer. Whatever, I took the task with the hopes of learning something new..

*3 days later*
*Meanwhile, we put cute little dots on post-its..*

“It’s not about the time, it is about the effort!”

“Sooo.. what have we done concerning this task?”
Me: “Well..erm.. I am done with loading the records, I have managed to fix that bug bla bla. But we can’t insert/delete/search yet. But the rest should be easier as I kinda understood how datatables works.”
PM: “*not pleased* hmm.. ok, but we need to finish and deploy it asap. It is a 5-point task, can you add insertion/deletion mechanisms today?”….

Then he begins to creep on my screen every now and then..
I’m sorry, wut?  – _ –

OK, I get it the team gave that task 5 points in the meeting, and I respect that ofc. But instead of a much more experienced team member, if I take that task, it will naturally take much more TIME & EFFORT. Considering every one of us is a unique being, what is the point of story points? Is it merely a tool for managers?


2 thoughts on “Point of Story Points”

  1. Hey! Very interesting example of how agile and the subsequent storypointîg is derived from its initial use.
    There is of course the issue of skills, and the underying question being : should we have teams with pretty much homogeneous skills so that anybody can progress the stories? Or should we have instead highly specialised staff and base the storypointing assuming the right person is doing it?

    Was there any properly skilled person in your team able to execute the 5-pt task in an easy way? If so it sounds like a PM problem!

    Best of luck (I am now following your blog)

    Feel free to come by mine, I’m going to address the same kind of questions 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi! Thanks for the comment! I really appreciate it. 🙂

      Yes, there are properly skilled people in my team, but most of us are juniors (and I’m the most junior one in terms of experience) and we kinda encourage ourselves to get our hands dirty by using different technologies that we are not familiar with. I think it’s a good thing to homogenize the team, since everyone learns/gets familiar with the used techs. Also the execution of task can go on even if the asignee takes the day off, but everything comes with a price. So it is a dilemma between homogenizing the team & keeping the burndown chart on track, hence I don’t totally blame the PM.

      Thanks for following my blog, and I will check yours for sure! Have a nice weekend! 🙂


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