Story Points & Velocity are a sign of an unsuccessful team

Velocity and Story Points are not Scrum

There are a number of things that we collectively believe are required to do Scrum, and these have been perpetrated by the long-running perseverance of trainers teaching to the lowest common denominator and keeping things as simple as possible. There is the general consensus in the trainer community that folks that attend Scrum training are not smart enough to do anything else. However, if you go have a look at the Scrum Guide and see how many time common things that you believe are mandated in Scrum are referenced:

  • Story Points: 0
  • Burndown: 0
  • User Stories: 0
  • Original Estimate: 0
  • Bug Count: 0
  • Actual Completed: 0

Managing the unknown is hard

It’s ok for a team to start with Story Points and Velocity. There are many things that change when a team moves from the traditional project management practices of the past to the empirical practices of the future, and sometimes we need to pick our battles. One such battle is that of story points and velocity and in fact all of the gubbins surrounding it.

Confidence Through Transparency

Confidence is gained by truly understanding the uncertainty of delivery and factoring it into our projections. How sure are you that you will be able to deliver? No really! what is your statistical level of confidence?

  • The Product Backlog is the Confidence of Transparency of the Future — Since we have a backlog that has been ordered by the Product Owner, who is accountable for maximizing the value delivered I can be confident that what we have Done represents the most valuable things that we could have done.



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Martin Hinshelwood

Martin Hinshelwood


Martin Hinshelwood is a Professional Scrum Trainer and Microsoft MVP. He has been Consulting, Coaching, and Training in DevOps & Agility since 2010.