Why estimating cognitive effort simplifies knowledge work

“There were only an estimated two to five thousand humans alive in Africa sixty thousand years ago. We were literally a species on the brink of extinction! And some scientists believe (from studies of carbon-dated cave art, archaeological sites, and human skeletons) that the group that crossed the Red Sea to begin the great migration was a mere one hundred fifty. Only the most innovative survived, carrying with them problem-solving traits that would eventually give rise to our incredible imagination and creativity.” –Marc Sisson

Imagination fed into our uniquely human ability to cooperate flexibly in large numbers. So fast forward to today. Our most valuable and exciting work, particularly in the context of innovation, still relies on our ability to imagine what needs to be done, start, and continuously course correct.

3. Story Points assume you fix all bugs & address problems as you discover them.

Only new functionality has a story point value associated. This means that you are incentivized to creating new functionality. While discovering and fixing problems takes up time, it doesn’t contribute to the final feature set upon release. Or the value a user will get from the product.

Anything that is a bug or a problem with existing code needs to be logged and addressed as soon as possible, ideally before any new functionality is started, to be certain that anything “done” (where the story points have been credited) is actually done. If you don’t do this, then you will have a lot of story points completed, but you won’t be able to release the product because of the amount of bugs you know about. What’s worse, bugfixing can drag on and on for months, if you delay this until the end. It’s highly unpredictable how long it will take a team to fix all bugs, as each bug can take a few minutes or a few weeks. If you fix bugs immediately, you have a much higher chance of fixing them quickly, as the work is still fresh in the team’s collective memory.