Project Management

Is AI Good for Story Point Estimation?

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at [email protected]. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

Organizations are now seriously exploring artificial intelligence (AI) to improve their strategic planning and project delivery. For most, it’s a preliminary exploration, with the expectation that it will be several years before they are using AI in real-world situations to drive decisions. But some organizations are being more aggressive. I know one that is planning to use AI to generate story points for agile work to speed up the estimation process and drive productivity into teams. The leadership is convinced that there is a lot of story point padding. Unsurprisingly, it's a controversial move, with the agile teams convinced that it’s not going to work and pushing back hard. It will be later this year before there are any results from the exercise, but it’s a scenario that will unfold with increasing frequency in other organizations in the coming months and years. So, does AI have a role to play in story points?

The organization’s plan is to have software determine the complexity and uncertainty of a particular story based on the details of the story itself using a database of historic stories as reference. The tool will then consider the experience of the team working on a particular initiative before assigning a story point value. The organization already uses a Fibonacci sequence with their story point sequencing (each value is the sum of …

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