Estimation methods overview


Estimation is the process of predicting the most realistic amount of effort required to develop or maintain software based on the incomplete and uncertain input. Jira Align supports four different methods for estimating epics, capabilities, and features. These estimation methods are: Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF), T-shirt size, points, and team weeks/member weeks.

Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF) is calculated as the cost of delay (CoD) divided by job duration. Jobs that can deliver the most value and are of shortest duration are selected first for implementation. To calculate WSJF, you need to set up the following.

  • Business value. Relative value in the eyes of the customer/business, including such considerations as what users prefer, revenue impact on the business, and any penalty (cost or market share) for slow or late delivery.
  • Time value. This parameter reflects how the user value may decline (or CoD will increase) over time. Considerations include deadlines, customers' willingness to wait, and the effect on customer satisfaction while the feature is not available.
  • Risk reduction/opportunity enablement value. This element is a combination of three items: the need to eliminate risks early, the credit given to the value of the information received, and the potential for new business opportunities that might be unlocked.
  • Job size. If availability of resources means that a larger job may be delivered more quickly than some other job, then the job size estimate must be converted to job length to have a more accurate result.

T-Shirt size estimating is a process by which your features, capabilities, and epics are categorized as extra-small, small, medium, large, and extra-large.

Planning poker is a method of effort estimation, which ensures that the entire team is involved in the estimation. There are two types of points that can be used in poker: Fibonacci sequence (a sequence of numbers in which the next number is derived by adding together the previous two) and Power of 2 (a number of the form 2n, meaning 2 multiplied by itself n times).

Planning poker rules:

  • Every team member has the same number of cards.
  • Assumptions and details are available for each team member. Everyone can bring up assumptions and details separately and edit the assumptions.
  • There is a list of stories to be estimated. The team discusses a story and votes.
  • If the team does not agree, there is a second round of discussion and voting.
  • If, after the second voting the team agrees, save it and move to the next story.

Finally, all estimation types may be translated to member weeks or team weeks for forecasting purposes. Set up your conversions between an estimation type and member weeks using the Estimation Conversions menu.

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