Tips for Sizing

Seven ways to get the Most out of Sizing

As we wrap up our series of posts on demystifying sizing and story points, here are some last tips for how to get the most out of sizing

1) Be fully present

Show respect for the team and the process. Laptops only when someone needs to refer to code. Phones on silent.

2) Keep it brief

Make Backlog Grooming or Sizing meaningful without making it burdensome. The rule of thumb is 2 hours minutes for each week of the Sprint. A 2-week Sprint should have a 4-hour planning session. Keep in mind that the mind can only focus on what the rear end can endure – consider breaking this into 2 meetings if that works best.

3) Keep stories manageable

A story that cannot be completed in a Sprint is an epic. It should be broken down into parts that can be delivered as stand-alone functionality.

4) Remember all components

When sizing, remember to include tasks like testing, documentation and other tasks outside of coding. All work that contributes to the user story should be reflected in the sizing.

5) Calibrate your sizing

Every so often, review the backlog. Do the stories sized as a 5 seem to be similar? Have story points assigned become higher or lower over time? You may expect the team’s velocity to pick up, which leads to lower story point assignments for stories. However, if sizing trends in the other direction, make sure you understand why.

6) Try asynchronous / virtual preparation, but meet in person.

If you have a requirements management tool, like JIRA, try starting a conversation about Sprint Planning virtually. Use JIRA with Confluence or a tool like Slack to facilitate discussion before the meeting. This method allows the team to reflect on the user stories in advance, which is helpful when deeper research and thinking is required.

7) Make it fun

Repeating the same formula every Sprint is dull. Mix it up to keep everyone engaged and energized. Consider planning poker cards or apps for sizing or rotate facilitators to keep the team engaged.

Learn more

This is our third post in a series on demystifying sizing and story points, by Joyce Carr Schwab, one of Dev Technology’s project managers. Read other posts in this series:

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