Points vs Hours

Estimation is a fundamental building block in Scrum. Without it Product Owners and Scrum Masters will struggle with securing a release date and showing velocity improvement. When adopting Scrum the tendency is to continue approximating in time. Unfortunately, reams of research shows that humans are inherently horrible at estimating in time. It turns out when we estimate jobs by how long they will take us to complete we have an error rate of 400%. 

So, how should we estimate? If we use relative sizing (small, medium, large,) our error rate drops to a more reasonable 50%.  This is why Scrum Inc.’s recommends to estimate the amount of effort it takes get a job done in points. Story points give more exact estimates, drastically reduce planning time and more accurately predict release dates. And, without points, calculating Velocity is impossible. Without Velocity, there is no way for a Team to inspect and adapt and continuously improve, which is the essence of Scrum. 

If your Team is still estimating in hours, stop and watch the online course below.


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