What Are Story Points And How Do You Estimate Them?

Backlogs can be daunting and can seriously derail product management if they are not dealt with systematically. There is no denying that they are inevitable and even the most organized teams have them at times. Story Points And How Do You Estimate Them plays a key role in almost all product management and development processes.

Story points

What do story points mean?

In the realm of project management, story points are a unit of measure used to gauge the complexity and effort required to complete a task. Unlike traditional time-based estimates, story points focus on the inherent difficulty of a task rather than its duration.

How do story points apply?

Story points are applied through a collaborative effort involving the project team. Team members collectively assess the difficulty elements associated with each task, considering factors such as complexity, uncertainty, and required effort.

When are story points applied?

Story points are typically applied during the planning phase of a project, specifically in the context of Agile methodologies. Teams may revisit and adjust story points during sprint planning sessions as the project progresses and more information becomes available.

Why are story points used?

Story points offer a more flexible and accurate way to estimate work compared to traditional time-based methods. They provide a more nuanced understanding of the challenges posed by different tasks and help teams adapt to changing project requirements.

What are story points?

Story points are a relative unit of measure that reflect both the total number of tasks a team has to complete and the difficulty elements associated with each task. They help create a shared understanding of the work ahead.

Total number of tasks you have to complete

Difficulty elements associated with the task

The difficulty elements encompass various factors such as technical challenges, dependencies, and the level of uncertainty involved. This aspect contributes to the complexity of a task.

Story point estimate

A story point estimate is a numeric value assigned to a task based on its perceived difficulty. It’s a collective decision made by the team during estimation sessions, reflecting their shared understanding of the work.

When to estimate a story point?

Story points are estimated during the project planning phase and can be revisited and adjusted during sprint planning sessions or when there are changes in project requirements.

What is a story point estimate?

A story point estimate is not an absolute measure of time but rather a consensus on the perceived complexity and effort required for a task. It allows teams to communicate more effectively about the work ahead.

Fear of commitment

One challenge in using story points is the fear of commitment. Team members might hesitate to assign specific values due to uncertainty or fear of being held strictly to an estimate.

Bad guesses

Estimating story points is not an exact science, and there may be instances of bad guesses. This is a natural part of the estimation process, and teams learn and improve over time.


By emphasizing collaboration, flexibility, and a nuanced understanding of project complexity, story points contribute to more accurate planning, improved adaptability, and ultimately, successful project delivery. Overcoming initial challenges such as fear of commitment or resistance to change allows teams to harness the true potential of story points in their project management journey.