Agile PM Process Grid–3.12 Story Points

In John Stenbeck’s book “PMI-ACP and Certified Scrum Professional Exam Prep and Desk Reference”, he creates an “agile project management process grid” which describes 87 processes used in agile project management.   These processes are divided into five process groups (Initiate, Plan, Iterate, Control, and Close), which are analogous to the five process groups in traditional project management, and seven knowledge areas which can be mapped, more or less, onto the ten knowledge areas in traditional project management.

The process covered in this post is actually a tool, and that is story points.   Story points are used to quantify the work effort at a high-level by giving an indicator of how much difficulty will be involved with the development of a given user story.

They are used often in conjunction with the process 3.11 Planning Poker (see previous post).  Story points are expressed in terms of numbers in the Fibonacci sequence 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, …, and these are used because they form the basis of many natural forms and the human mind seems predisposed to their use.   The relative size of user stories can be estimated using story points, and their intuitive nature makes them easy to use in the first part of agile estimation.

The next post deals with the concept of actual days, as opposed to ideal days, and their importance in the agile estimation process.


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