What is wrong with Agile measurement methods? Standard Software Functional Sizing vs Story Points

May 22, 2018 General Official Notices

We prefer Facts to Stories (Managing Agile activities using standardised measures) is the white paper produced by IFPUG, COSMIC and Nesma, international organizations that maintain the ISO/IEC software sizing standards used in industry for estimation, budgeting, contract and project management, supplier performance measurement, benchmarking and other management activities. This white paper shows how the ISO/IEC software sizing standards methods can be used to manage Agile-at-Scale activities, achieving this whilst leaving existing Agile processes unchanged at the team level.

The essential processes that management relies on for budgeting, estimating and controlling Agile-at-Scale activities need a more reliable and objective measure of work-output (i.e. of software size) than Story Points. Any one of the ISO standard methods for estimating or measuring software size can meet this need. Senior management is responsible for setting budgets and allocating resources optimally so as to deliver the greatest value to the organization, and for tracking progress against budgets across the organization.

This cannot be done properly for a software group using only typical Agile processes where there are no common performance data across all the teams. These management tasks become even more difficult for an organization that has contracted out its software development to external suppliers that use Agile processes, but that do not use any standard performance measures.

In this paper we explain the challenges that management faces when confronted with the limitations of Agile metrics and we show how simple but effective and long-established ISO standard software measures can fit seamlessly into Agile processes to enable managers to estimate and control Agile delivery at scale. This white paper can be download from here.

This white paper complements the previous document “Managing Agile at Scale A briefing for Software Executives and CIOs” that offers simple but effective and long-established international standard solutions to to manage Agile delivery at scale, without risk of losing the speed and flexibility benefits of Agile processes.