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Parent story does not add story point from eash sub task

Paresh Gandhi Apr 22, 2016

I was wondering if this is expected behavior?


I add story points to sub tasks however parent story does not show up sum of those story points.


2 answers

1 accepted

1 vote
Answer accepted

This is expected behavior. In typical agile you do not estimate Sub-Tasks with Story Points, you estimate Stories with Story Points. JIRA Software enforces this.

If you want you could customize the field to perform this but this again would be custom.

To further the discussion, I'll have you know that Time Estimates, Remaining Time, and Time Spent do aggregate on the Story. Time does roll up, story points do not.

0 votes
Craig Cockburn Oct 19, 2018

This isn't how story points are supposed to work.

They are a tool to estimate the backlog for unrefined stories and also help with sprint planning where the story points might be refined and typically subtasks are estimated in hours to help with burndown. It is valuable to estimate the backlog at a high level to get an estimate of when things longer term might be done. It is valuable at the sprint level to estimate in order to ensure the work is feasible in the timebox to meet the sprint goal. You should not roll up story points as this does not really help if you are equating the subtask work to team velocity and meeting the sprint goal.

In a team that goes through a defined process with say about 30% analysis 40% dev and 30% testing then why bother? Each story is the same, so use story points just at the story level and focus on getting things to done. Let's call one of these a 8

However along comes another 8 that has an entirely different makeup and you break it down using subtasks as 2. Analysis, 2 Database. 2 UX and 2 Test 

Looks like a 8 in total but as a predictor of delivery (which is what story points are for) this looks like 8 for individual effort rolled up but there's a possible shortage of DBA skills. So if you are using subtask estimation for everything you might see this by profiling the skills against demand which might be a reason for subtask estimation but if you roll this up to stories you lose this important information which can help you understand whether the goal can be met.

So estimation at the story level makes sense if the work is similar and at the task level for velocity purposes makes sense if the work is variable.  Rolling up story points doesn't seem to add much value for predictability in my view (other than management wanting reports) Also a 8 and a 5 don't make a 13 for story points, they are sizing buckets and not estimates.

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