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How does a Scrum team estimate what can be delivered in a Sprint?

Navigating the Uncertainties of Sprint Estimations in Scrum Teams

Today, let’s delve deep into a fascinating question which is, “How does a scrum team estimate what can be delivered in a single Sprint?”

It’s a great question, and I must admit, the ultimate answer might surprise many – maybe they don’t!

Grab a seat as we unravel the intricacies of Sprint estimations! 🚀

The Great Dilemma – Estimations or Size?

As per the scrum guide, surprisingly, the terms ‘estimate’ or ‘estimation’ are nowhere to be found on its pages.

Instead, it emphasises understanding the ‘size’ of things on their product backlog, diverging from the common notion of estimation. 💡

While estimation tools and techniques stand as excellent resources, their prime utility, as I see it, is to foster a profound understanding among developers, the product owner, and stakeholders about the elements in the product backlog.

In my experience, this comprehension tends to be far more valuable than pinpointing a specific timeframe, which can often be misleading.

Yet, I often lean on these tools to bolster teams’ understanding of the items on the product backlog rather than pinpointing a fixed time frame.

The Creative Process: Unpredictable & Uncharted

Consider this scenario, which may sound outlandish, but think about it.  What if someone asked you to write a book on political leadership in the UK?

Could you instantly decipher how long it would take?  ✍️

Honestly, you don’t know; you can’t answer that question.

It’s virtually impossible to predict the timeframe for such a creative endeavour, as it’s laden with unforeseeable obstacles and surprises that bring in a high level of variance.

Just as with crafting a product that doesn’t exist yet, predicting a precise timeframe for a book is fraught with uncertainty due to unforeseeable challenges and surprises that might occur along the way.

Embracing Uncertainties in Agile Strategies

Building a product is akin to venturing into unknown territory.  Your approach, tools, ideas, and even architectural choices are yet to be formulated.

This unknown facet leads to the inevitable element of surprise, making precise estimation a bit far-fetched. 🔍

So, when it comes down to what can be delivered in a Sprint, the truth is we take educated guesses akin to many others.

Remember, your Sprint goal should encompass only a portion of the Sprint, allowing room for adjustments and realignments as you might often realise that tasks could take more time than anticipated.

Embark on Your Agile Journey

I invite you to join my Agile and Scrum courses to delve even deeper into these nuances and cultivate a robust understanding. 🎓

We will navigate the unpredictable yet exhilarating journey of Agile project management.  Let’s learn, adapt, and grow together!


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