How to Estimate Stories When Using Pivotal Tracker

If you are a development/consulting firm, your clients sometimes want to have an idea of total time and cost of the project or yet another iteration before they sign any contract.

And the next important and difficult issue is to stay within the agreed estimates (and keep everything clean and clear) during the whole circle of the development process.

Pivotal Tracker handles the second perfectly! It embodies proven agile methods, based on experience from hundreds of successful large scale projects so your process is always top-notch.

But there is no native time estimation option in Pivotal. So, there are actually two ways to go about this.

1 – First approach is to do a workaround and roughly map out points to hours

1 pt = 1 hour
2 pts = 2 hours
3 pts = 6 hours
5 pts = 10 hours

(you can define your own proportion)

Then calculate how many 1s, 2s, 3s and 5s you should get a rough estimate of total hours.

Using velocity—the average number of points accepted over the past few iterations—you can predict when a given iteration will be completed.

2 – Second approach, is by using a 3d party integration and use the best of both at once

Everhour offers a simple and convenient integration with Pivotal Tracker, which allows you to evaluate the stories in hours and do it directly from the Pivotal interface. By doing so, you do not affect any agile principles of the product itself.

Suppose you have a backlog which the client asked you to evaluate.

Doing analysis of all relevant stories, you can indicate the involvement of a team member and his involvement by simply selecting him from the list and setting a rough number.

When you are done, next to the story titles you’ll see the total estimate and time reported to date if any, as well as the total for all tasks in a specific panel.

You can generate several handy reports, which you can then show/send to the customer.

For example, group tasks by iteration showing members, story types as well as estimates.

Or you can build a report with the total involvement of a specific department.

Everhour allows you to keep your customer informed on a daily basis, to make sure that your team move according to your original estimates. By increasing transparency in development process, you will increase the number of your satisfied customers.

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Mike Kulakov

Mike Kulakov is the CEO of the consulting agency called Weavora .