Points are relative abstract effort units. Points are a relative measure of user story size and feature difficulty or complexity. They are used for estimations. We recommend to use a discrete point scale, for example: 1,2,3,5,8,13,20. This scale means that a 5 point story has nearly twice the complexity of a 3 point story, no more. Estimation using points is easier, because you estimate by comparing. For example, "We'll give this story 2 points because it seems to be twice as big as that 1-point story and about half as big as that 4-point story."
In Targetprocess, effort units remain the same during the whole project. When you switch from points to hours, the changes are applied to all your entities, both planned and already completed.
The default Kanban process uses ideal hours while Scrum uses points, but you can change that. To do that please navigate to Settings → Processes → [Your Process] → Practices → Planning → Customize.
After that you can choose between hours and points.
Important: Tasks are always estimated in hours, regardless of the settings above. Tasks are small and specific items that usually take less than 8 hours to complete. In this case we can estimate in hours pretty good and tasks are just too small for points. It is considered a good practice in Agile. So, if you have user stories in points and tasks in hours, system will handle progress calculations and Burn Down charts correctly.
If you are switching from points to hours and you have your tasks estimated, make sure you check the check box at the bottom so that story effort can be reset. This will ensure that the effort of every user story equals to the sum of the efforts of its child tasks.
Different effort units can be configured in different processes. For example, you may use Points effort units for one project and Ideal Hours for another project.
Iterations’ Velocity is measured in the same effort units as user stories.
- Can I estimate in days rather than hours?
- No, but please vote for the correspondent enhancement request. Anyway, it is always better to have smaller user stories and tasks.
- Can I estimate with T-shirt sizes instead of points or hours?
- You can, but not exactly the same way. You can create a custom field of drop-down list with values like XS, S, M, L, XL.
- Can I estimate stories both in points (for initial rough estimation) and hours (for detailed estimation)?
- Yes, and it can be done within two different methods. You're welcome to try both in a sandbox project and choose the one that will fit better for your needs.
1. Estimate stories rougly in points and estimate tasks accurately in hours
Use abstract points as effort unit in process settings. Set rough estimations in points to stories into Role Effort input fields (Assignments area). Put accurate estimations in hours to tasks into Effort input fields as well.
In this mode built-in capacity planning and progress tracking of your iterations (sprints) and releases are based on your rough estimations. People capacity views show total assigned effort both in points for user stories and in hours for tasks separately, personal allocations are not applied as capacity limitations.
2. Estimate stories and tasks accurately in hours, add custom field for rough estimations to stories
Use ideal hours as effort unit in process settings. Add a numeric or drop down list custom field to user story entity to hold rough estimations. Put accurate estimations in ideal hours to both stories and tasks into Role Effort input fields (Assignments area).
In this mode built-in capacity planning and progress tracking of your iterations (sprints) and releases are based on your accurate estimations. People capacity views show total assigned effort in hours, personal allocations are applied as capacity limitations. It is possible to build custom reports and visual reports based on rough estimations.
In this mode you're free to use any measurement unit you want for rough estimations. Rough hours, abstract points, man-weeks or team-weeks, T-shirt sizes etc.
- I have changed the effort units, but I do not see any difference, what’s wrong?
- The changes work per process, so make sure the project uses the process that you just modified. You can check it in detailed view for your Project -> Info area on the right panel -> Process field.