What Is The Point In Estimating?

Agile development - estimating using fibonacci numbers as pointsOne technique used by agile development teams is the idea of estimating product features using points. This has a few distinct advantages over estimating in physical units of time.

1. Estimating is very quick because it’s an intuitive estimate of a feature’s size.

2. An estimate in points indicates a feature’s size relative to another, and does not give the illusion of being precise.

3. Over time, and using consistent iterations (e.g. 2-week sprints), you get a strong feel for how many points a team can deliver in an iteration. Even if a team is bad at estimating, as long as they’re consistently bad, this makes a team’s commitments self-correcting.

Some agile teams use Fibonacci numbers to do this. Fibonacci numbers are a sequence where each number is the sum of the previous two, i.e:

1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21 …

Using Fibonacci adds an element of science to the concept of estimating using points, adding the laws of distribution as a dimension.

If you’re interested in understanding more about the scientific background of Fibonacci numbers – which weren’t invented for agile development by the way! – you might be interested to listen to this Radio 4 podcast on Fibonacci


See also:
How to estimate your product backlog

One Response to “What Is The Point In Estimating?”

  1. David O'Br says:

    That is fantastic, we use a similar strategy! For us the Brun–Titchmarsh theorem of progressive primes, to help make Agile intuitive and simple for the whole team.

Leave a Reply

What is 7 + 4 ?
Please leave these two fields as-is:
Please do this simple sum so I know you are human:)

There are 101 ways to approach anything.
To find the best way, sometimes you need expert help

What People Say

“Kelly is an Agile heavy-weight. He came in to assess my multi-million $ Agile development program which wasn’t delivering the right throughput. He interviewed most of the team and made some key recommendations that, when implemented, showed immediate results. I couldn’t ask for more than that except he’s a really nice guy as well.”



To explore how we can help you, please get in touch