Story Points Examples


This is a template. Please copy this and make this your own!


Story points are how we estimate the amount of work required to complete a user story. We use this formula to figure out the number of story points:

SP = Volume of Work x Complexity x Unknowns

  • Volume of Work is simply, “there’s a lot to do to get this story completed”
  • Complexity is “this is hard to do, and involves lot of moving parts”
  • Unknowns are “lot of things here that we don’t know how to complete” Ideally, we spike these unknowns.

We use the Fibonacci scale to estimate story points, and this is how we calibrate it:
Story Points
Trivial work!
Perhaps some of volume of work or complexity, but no unknowns.
One or more of increased volume of work, complexity, and perhaps a few unknowns.
The most complex work that a developer can take up in a sprint!
8 or more
Should ideally be split up into smaller chunks.
Note: if this can’t be split up, then it’s very likely that the work involved will go beyond a single sprint.

Reference Issues

Here are examples of some issues and our estimates, for reference and comparison:

Issue Link
Story Point Estimate
Volume of Work
[Corresponding issue link]
1 (trivial housekeeping work!)
Nothing much, just adding a line to Jenkins CI
Simple to do, just log in to Jenkins, find the project, and add the line
Just have to find out how to invalidate CloudFront from the CLI
[Corresponding issue link]
2 (not much work, and the unknown looks easy to solve)
Not a lot!
Generate a code, store it in the DB once the questionnaire is complete.
Have to figure out how to generate a 6 digit unique numeric code.
[Corresponding issue link]
3 (no unknowns, but a lot of volume of work)
Any place that fetches question or answer data, make sure it’s associated with a user.
Not that complex once we have login in place!
Not much unknown here!
[Corresponding issue link]
5 (mostly due to volume of work x complexity)
Have to build an external API interface, fetch the data, store it in database & format it for display in the report.
Grok how the external API works.
Not much unknown, the external API has been provided along with documentation.
[Corresponding issue link]
8 (lots of unknowns, and those must be spiked first)
Lot of work in terms of thinking through the data architecture to make sure what we require in the application can be built
Hard to do!
Lot of unknowns as there is no familiarity with Redux in the team.

Important Notes

  1. When possible, always spike unknowns as a separate story.
  1. Story points are not an absolute measure of effort, so never think of estimation as: 1 story point = 1 developer day of effort. Instead, story points are relative measures. The reference issues above can be used as a comparison for this effort measure.
  1. If playing planning poker is taking too long, consider: magic estimation.