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Value AND Velocity!

November 13, 2009

In last week’s post I talked about how a stakeholder can use Value Points as a useful metric, and how to assign Value Points to epics.  Value Points are good for determining whether the team is working on the right projects but they don’t paint the entire picture.  This is where Velocity points come in.

At Point2, we estimate story sizes based on relative complexity.  The simplest thing we can do is a 1, something about twice as difficult a 2, and so on.  Some people prefer time estimates, either method of sizing stories is fine here.

Once you have both Value and Size estimates for your stories, you can plot them on a scatter plot.  Here I plotted story size on the X axis, and Value on the Y axis.  Small size, high value stories are in the upper left quadrant, low value, large size stories are in the lower right.  In this example, I would probably get the team to do all but 3 of these stories, those being the ones with size 5, value 2 and 3, and size 3, value 1.

scatterplot

The interaction between value and size is an excellent way to make sure your team is delivering the right product.  High value, low complexity stories are great for delivering some quick value, possibly as a means of generating the capital to tackle the larger projects.  Low value, high complexity stories might be best left on the shelf, or alternate means of solving the problem sought.

By: Tefon Obchansky

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