The CrumbScale effort estimation improves on the popular Agile estimation methods by
- Removing confusion from points estimation
- Remaining precise over time
- Removing the need for re-estimation
- Reducing estimation time
- Supporting more robust predictability and planning
Instead of estimating each Stories one at a time, CrumbScale distributes the effort Points in a two step process involving all of the Stories. CrumbScale as no need for reference Stories to initiate the “estimation” process and thus gets rid of "points vs hours" confusion. As an extra benefit, once the initial point distribution is done, one of the byproduct is the creation of a rapid estimation tool used for all future estimation in the project.
Here is the CrumbScale estimation method in a nutshell:
- Size Ordering: Starting from the original (unordered) list of Epics and Stories; Start dropping the stories one by one in a new list while keeping the following order: the biggest story at the top and the smallest at the bottom. The only question you need to ask yourself is "Is this bigger than that?".
Note: The programers among you understand that this is an simple Insert Sort
- Effort Points Distribution: This step is done using the following points scale; 1/2, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 20, 40 and 100. Starting at the bottom of the list, give the value 1/2 to the Stories as you go up the list. When you find a Stories that is twice as big as the 1/2 Stories, switch to the value of 1 and continue moving up the list now assigning the value 1. Continue this process all the way to the top of the list, incrementing to the next scale value (2, 5, 8 and so forth) as the Stories size is doubling. The only question you need to ask yourself is "Is this twice as big as that?".
2 steps, 2 questions, repeated many times. Like Scrum, CrumbScale looks simplistic at first and still, the Development Team will discover its many benefits after the first couple of usages.
Learn how to use CrumbScale in the Rally-Point Backlog book