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What Are Story Factors?


Story factors are a unit of measure for expressing an estimate of the general effort that will probably be required to completely implement a product backlog merchandise or every other piece of labor.

Once we estimate with story factors, we assign some extent worth to every merchandise. The uncooked values we assign are unimportant: Some groups use a modified fibonacci sequence (1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13); others use a doubling sequence (1, 2, 4, 8, 16). 

What issues are the relative values. A person story that’s assigned two story factors needs to be twice as a lot effort as a one-point story. It must also be two-thirds the trouble of a narrative that’s estimated as three story factors.

As a substitute of assigning 1, 2 and three, that staff might as a substitute have assigned 100, 200 and 300. Or 1 million, 2 million and three million. It’s the ratios that matter, not the precise numbers.

One of many most important causes story factors are so invaluable is that they permit staff members with totally different ability ranges to speak about and agree on an estimate. As a substitute of arguing about how lengthy it’d take every staff member personally to do one thing, groups as a substitute can rapidly say that this person story is about twice or thrice as a lot effort as that person story. With story factors, it’s all relative.  


Find out how to Calculate Story Factors in Agile

The perfect definition of story factors is that they characterize the effort to develop a person story or product backlog merchandise.

Effort is a query of time: how lengthy it would take to complete one thing. Many elements go into figuring out effort, together with

  • The quantity of labor to do
  • The complexity of the work
  • Any danger or uncertainty in doing the work

When estimating with story factors, many issues come into play: complexity, effort, danger, and quantity. However in the end, story factors are an estimate of effort. 

Let’s see how every issue impacts the trouble estimate given by story factors. For every issue that goes into selecting story factors, examples are offered to assist enhance understanding.

The Quantity of Work to Do

Actually, if there may be extra to do of one thing, the estimate of effort needs to be bigger. Take into account the case of creating two net pages. The primary web page has just one subject and a label asking to enter a reputation. The second web page has 100 fields to additionally merely be crammed with a little bit of textual content.

The second web page is not any extra advanced. There aren’t any interactions among the many fields and every is nothing greater than a little bit of textual content. There’s no extra danger on the second web page. The one distinction between these two pages is that there’s extra to do on the second web page.

The second web page needs to be given extra story factors. It most likely doesn’t get 100 instances extra factors although there are 100 instances as many fields. There are, in any case, economies of scale and possibly making the second web page is barely 2 or 3 or 10 instances as a lot effort as the primary web page.

Threat and Uncertainty

The quantity of danger and uncertainty in a product backlog merchandise ought to have an effect on the story level estimate given to the merchandise.

If a staff is requested to estimate a product backlog merchandise and the stakeholder asking for it’s unclear about what will probably be wanted, that uncertainty needs to be mirrored within the estimate.

If implementing a characteristic includes altering a selected piece of outdated, brittle code that has no automated exams in place, that danger needs to be mirrored within the estimate.


Complexity must also be thought-about when offering a narrative level estimate. Suppose again to the sooner instance of creating an online web page with 100 trivial textual content fields with no interactions between them.

Now take into consideration one other net web page additionally with 100 fields. However some are date fields with calendar widgets that pop up. Some are formatted textual content fields like cellphone numbers or Social Safety numbers. Different fields do checksum validations as with bank card numbers.

This display screen additionally requires interactions between fields. If the person enters a Visa card, a three-digit CVV subject is proven. But when the person enters an American Categorical card, a four-digit CVV subject is proven.

Regardless that there are nonetheless 100 fields on this display screen, these fields are more durable to implement. They’re extra advanced. They’ll take extra time. There’s extra probability the developer will make a mistake and be required to again up and proper it.

This extra complexity needs to be mirrored within the estimate offered.

Take into account All Components: Quantity of Work, Threat and Uncertainty, and Complexity

It might appear unattainable to mix three elements into one quantity and supply that as an estimate to take to dash planning. It’s doable, although, as a result of effort is the unifying issue. 
First, Scrum staff members think about how a lot effort will probably be required to do the quantity of labor described by a product backlog merchandise.

Subsequent, these agile groups think about how a lot effort to incorporate for coping with the chance and uncertainty inherent within the product backlog merchandise. Often that is finished by contemplating the chance of an issue occurring and the affect if the chance does happen. So, for instance, extra will probably be included within the estimate for a time-consuming danger that’s prone to happen than for a minor and unlikely danger.

Lastly, groups should additionally think about the complexity of the work to be finished. Work that’s advanced would require extra considering, might require extra trial-and-error experimentation, maybe extra back-and-forth with a buyer, might take longer to validate and may have extra time for mistake corrections.

Throughout agile estimation, all three elements have to be mixed into one measure of effort.

Keep in mind the Definition of Finished

A narrative level estimate should embrace all the pieces concerned in getting a product backlog merchandise all the best way to finished. If a staff’s definition of finished contains creating automated exams to validate the story (and that may be a good suggestion), the trouble to create these exams needs to be included within the story level estimate.

Scrum, Story Factors, and Conversations

Conversations are an integral part of agile estimating. Even with thought workouts like story factors as buckets, staff members typically don’t agree at first on how a lot effort a narrative will probably be.
These various estimates can spark illuminating conversations between staff members and with product homeowners about acceptance standards/circumstances of satisfaction, strategy, and different elements that may have an effect on how a lot effort it would take to finish an merchandise. Speaking a couple of product backlog merchandise will increase the staff’s understanding of the work, and may reveal gaps and assumptions that the product proprietor can examine.
The facility of those conversations is likely one of the causes I like to recommend planning poker. Planning poker is a enjoyable technique to estimate, and it’s additionally a technique to preserve every particular person’s estimate personal till the staff members all reveal their playing cards. Particular person estimates imply much less bias within the numbers and, in the end, estimates which are extra correct.
As soon as the staff has agreed on an estimate, it assigns story factors to the backlog merchandise. That story level estimate is later utilized in calculating a staff’s common dash velocity, capability, and extra

Story factors could be a exhausting idea to understand. However the effort to completely perceive that factors characterize effort—as impacted by the quantity of labor, the complexity of the work and any danger or uncertainty within the work—will probably be price it.



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