Please @JayHorsecow how did you defuse the bomb?
I kept asking “Why?” and after enough asking it finally came to light that while the ask was centered around “comparing team X to team Y” it REALLY came down to FORECASTING, and “how do we know that we can deliver to the pre-determined timeline.” Based upon that nugget I was able to table the team comparison exercise (under the auspices of “get them moving, keep them honest, set honest expectations, re-evaluate later”) and concentrate on the whole estimation vs. forecasting vs. commitment discussion (@hdietrich this is where #NoEstimates comes in ).
I was able to convince TPTB to give me some time to get all the teams to reach the same standard of grooming that Vasco prescribes in the book (only 1 or 3 point stories, nothing more than two days, etc.) which will then lead us to become “predictable” and based upon that we can prognosticate on what we MAY deliver in the future.
As with everything else, I solved this problem and found the new problem of “we need to groom the backlog well enough to put everything at comparable size so we can forecast.” Now THIS is a problem I’m very happy with!
Got an answer for you that came out of my SPC class. SAFe does talk about using man days but here is another way of doing it that to me makes a lot more sense and we don’t have to worry about hours at all…
Step 1: Forget man hours
Step 2: During team breakouts have the teams story point as usual using relative estimation.
Step 3: During the Scrum of Scrums, the product owners get together and bring their two lowest sized stories regardless if they are 1,2,or 3.
Step 4: First PO describes them and what they are pointed and places them on the wall.
Step 5: The next PO takes 1 story and reads it out loud and as a group they place it affinity style to the left, right, same, or in between the first two.
Step 6: Each PO does the same thing taking turns with only 1 story.
Step 7: Now all the teams have an established “1” relative to one another lowest sizing. The PO’s take these results back and adjust their estimates to the new “normal.” Example if team A sized a story as a 2 and it ended up being the lowest story in the affinity or in that same bucket then all the stories already sized by team A get shifted down a point. 2 to 1, 3 to 2, 5 to 3, etc. Each team team does this based on the affinity exercise.
Bockman relative estimating meets SAFe ART!!!