Story Points Burnt Should be Steady

Story points.  They are a difficult concept to grasp for those that aren’t familiar with seeing Scrum done right.  I recently had a ad-hoc conversation in which a number of PM’s (…. And an SM) stated that they expected the number of story points burnt to keep increasing as the team got ‘more advanced’.

I pointed out to a rather perplexed audience that actually the number of points will stay consistent as the team became more advanced.  Sometimes its easy to forget how the abstract can be counterintuitive.

An analogy I used was this ‘If I have a team of builders that just build a houses, then the team will naturally become better and more consistent at estimating how many houses they can build in a given period.  They will not keep getting infinitely faster at building houses as they build more and more’.

A sign of a Scrum teams maturity is how often and consistency they can burn their story points over successive sprints i.e. They estimate more consistently.

I enjoy these types of conversations as it means people are interested in the approach and are attempting to understand.  This was an opportunity to educate.

One of the biggest enemies of Scrum as its being widely adopted within industry is the scope for abuse, misunderstanding and the consequential lack of delivery.

I think it extremely important to communicate the abstract in a way that stakeholders can quickly understand, contextualise and remember. Its helps inform and builds the basis for setting of expectations, trust and mutual understanding.

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