Issue management and estimation

  1. A quick intro to managing software projects
  2. Issue management and estimation
  3. The Design Sprint
  4. The Build Sprint
  5. Product Management and the Product Owner role

Estimation is probably the most valuable skill you need to cultivate as a developer



  • Scrum™
  • Sprint
  • User story
  • Backlog
  • Sprint retrospective
  • Project board (Kanban)

Some new definitions


The difficulty level of a user story, expressed in points

Some people prefer to estimate in absolute time, expressed in hours or half-days, but in order to develop a good sense of relative time, for now we will estimate our user stories in points


The team capacity, expressed in points, for each sprint

Sprint backlog

A prioritised backlog of all the user stories that we estimate will be completed in the next sprint

Sprint planning

Where the team reprioritises user stories and agrees the next sprint backlog

Sprint review

Where the team compares their estimate with the actual number of user stories completed


  • Estimate
  • Velocity
  • Sprint backlog
  • Sprint planning and review


Not all issues raised in the project board contribute to the velocity estimate. Chores, bugs, refactors and spikes are all zero-point issues, even though they will (seriously) impact your sprint velocity.

Zero-point issues

  • Chore Something that needs to be done, not directly related to a user story
  • Bug Something broken
  • Refactor An improvement to the code that delivers no change to user experience
  • Spike Researching a potential solution to a problem by creating the simplest possible implementation of it


To be added to issues


  • E1 - Short story, estimated
  • E2 - Story, estimated
  • E3 - Long story, estimated
  • E5 - Extra long story, estimated


  • A1 - Short story, actual
  • A2 - Story, actual
  • A3 - Long story, actual
  • A5 - Extra long story, actual

Issue types

  • story
  • chore
  • bug
  • refactor
  • spike

After code review

Label all issues correctly before addressing them


  • Report on estimated vs actual velocity
  • And don’t forget to show your project board

Final thought: Hofstadter’s Law

It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.