Why story points make no sense for a product company

T-shirt sizing. Fruit Sizing. Planning pokers. You might be familiar with any or all of these estimation (relative sizing) techniques. Story points based estimations (along with velocity mapping) is touted as a predictable method to plan for software delivery. Teams are expected to get a good sense of the effort needed to deliver a piece of work by comparing estimates with references of similarly complex work they have delivered in the past.

The accuracy of point based estimates fares more or less in the same range as sheer gut feel. So, the natural inclination for software teams is to try and make it more accurate than gut feel. Thereby, we obsess with breaking functionality into smaller byte sized stories. We freak out when there is "scope creep". We debate endlessly about ideal days vs. person days. We fuss over the specific visual representation for the burn-up or burn-down.

Does it matter anymore how many days the team spent chipping hard at a feature that added no value to the business? Have we made agile teams into mini waterfall teams by focussing on the wrong metrics? Can product companies afford this?

Process heaviness in product companies can cost a lot. We need to find better ways to invest in success metrics. We need to change the conversation from productivity to value add.

My talk intends to challenge prevalent estimation practices and contest their validity in product companies. I will also introduce ideas around capturing relevant business metrics and sizing stories using business value.

 
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Outline/structure of the Session

Introduction to estimation

Problems with estimates

Product dynamics and agility

Eliminating wasteful processes

What metrics to track in Product companies?

How to track value?

Summary & Close

Learning Outcome

Limitations of story points and how to change the narrative to business value. Understand how to measure business value, and track metrics that matter the most.

Target Audience

Product Managers, Developers, Project Managers, Scrum Masters, Product Owners

Prerequisite

Familiarity with Agile concepts

Stories, and estimation techniques

Project tracking /planning experience is a nice to have

schedule Submitted 1 week ago

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  • Liked vinaya muralidharan
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    vinaya muralidharan - Psst...your data could be lying to you!

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    schedule 1 week ago
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  • vinaya muralidharan
    vinaya muralidharan
    Agile Coach
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    schedule 2 weeks ago
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    Product Owners and others responsible for creating and maintaining the Product Backlog often focus on functional items.

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  • Liked Henny portman
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    Henny portman - Will the project manager and PMO disappear in the agile world

    Henny portman
    Henny portman
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    schedule 2 weeks ago
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    I will focus on a possible transition of organizations who are introducing the agile way of working. Starting with a traditional project setup using permanent PMO (portfolio level) and a temporary PMO (project level). What will happen if the keep the team together as an agile team. What does that mean for the project manager. I will continue my story by adding an agile team. Coordination between the teams can be managed by a scrum of scrum. Still no need for a project organization with a project manager and a project board and no need for a temporary PMO. I add more teams and the coordination asks for a project manager. What dos this mean for a PMO? We can continue and institutionalize the coordination by using frameworks like Nexus, S@S, SAFe et cetera and has an Integration Manager, a Roadmap Manager or a Release Train Engineer and Product managers and Product Owners. I will add some new to be created teams (aks for a Project Manager to organise) et cetera. I will end with an overview and positioning of different agile frameworks and the role of the permanent PMO (focus portfolio management and Center of Excellence) in an agile world.