Ben Northrop

Decisions and software development

Design and Agile Estimation

May 20th 2010

Here's a problem my team confronts every sprint:

Feature X seems straight-forward, and so is given an estimate of 2 story points. At the start of the sprint, however, the developer realizes there are a few different options for how to design and implement this feature, and each option carries with it different "ility" trade-offs - e.g. reusability, reliability, extensibility, maintainability, etc. The option that is selected has significant impact on the time it will take.

There are a few different problems entangled in this scenario:

  1. Who is decides which design option is chosen?
  2. What happens Agile Estimation Techniques Agile Estimation - story points vs. hours Scrum - When do you Estimate the Effort for Product Backlog Items? Task Estimation: Do or Don't?
I believe that software development is fundamentally about making decisions, and so this is what I write about (mostly). I've been building software for about 20 years now, as a developer, tech lead, and architect. I have two degrees from Carnegie Mellon University, most recently one in philosophy (thesis here). I live in Pittsburgh, PA with my wife, 3 energetic boys, and dog. Subscribe here or write me at ben dot northrop at gmail dot com.

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