Agile Development Three point scale

The three-point scale is the general way we assign points in Mashup Garage projects. It starts with the mantra of "3 points by default," where stories are most often given 3 points.

Quickstart guide

Always start with 3 points. Don't overthink it, it's called an "estimate" for a reason. Adjust if needed:

  • 3 (Medium) points by default.
  • 2 (Small) points if they're a bit smaller.
  • 5 (Large) if they're bigger.

Small and Medium items

On a typical day, you're expected to do one 3-pointer, or two 2-pointers. Possibly more on good days!

In very productive days, it may be common to do two or three 3-pointers. This is especially true if some items turn out to be easier than some.

There's also a 1-pointer, which is the same as a 2-pointer that you're sure isn't going to need any feedback.

Large items

If it takes more than a day, it's a 5-pointer.

There are also 8-pointer items for those too big to estimate. These are typically items that need to be broken down into smaller items.

Legend

Points Size Duration
1 point Extra Small Too short to think about
2 points Small 1 to 2 hours (half-day average)
3 points Medium 3 to 6 hours (1 day average)
5 points Large 2 days or more
8 points Extra Large Too long to think about

1 point (Extra Small)

Same as a 2-pointer, but you're very confident that there won't be any revisions from your code-reviewers and your stakeholders. Try to avoid this, since the cost of doing one item (PR + review + CI + etc) has a fixed cost anyway—so only use 1 point if you're sure there won't be any back-and-forth.

Duration:

  • Can fit multiple 1-pointers in a day.

Examples:

  • "Change 'customize' to 'customise'"

2 points (Small)

Could be a 3, but feels a little too easy compared to other 3's.

Duration:

  • Can fit a few 2-pointers in a day.

Examples:

  • "Make the 'Next' button highlighted"
  • "Make 'card is invalid' error red"
  • "Make 'last name' field required"

3 points (Medium)

The default. Use 3 points by default.

Duration:

  • Takes a day at most.
  • You may be able to do more than one 3-pointer on a productive day.

Examples:

  • "Pre-select the dashboard when loading"
  • "Allow removing a user's profile photo"

5 points (Large)

Features that would make you step back and think twice. These are typically things that would need a bit of architecture, or some deep refactoring.

Duration:

  • Takes more than a day.

Examples:

  • "Add ElasticSearch to an existing project"
  • "Allow multiple photo uploads (instead of just one)"

8 points (Extra Large)

Features too big that they need to be broken down into other stories.

Duration:

  • Too long to estimate confidently.

Examples:

  • "Redesign the search page"