Phenomenon that many people will start to fully apply themselves to a task just at the last possible moment before a deadline. This leads to wasting any buffers built into individual task duration estimates.
During the recent discussions about estimations, which happened in many posts, Chris Leishman wrote about the 3 reasons (P’s) for estimation (which are extremely correct, in my opinion), and selected performance as one of them. As Chris wrote:
The throughput (velocity) of a team is determined by the amount of ‘work’ being done over a given time-period and is measured in terms of the estimate.
After reading this post, I realized that measuring only delivered story points in an iteration (one thing I always thought was right), might not be enough to enable the full capacity of a team.
Explaining, story points are used as de facto standard in agile projects because they provide the separation between time and effort. This way, when I estimate a story as a developer, I have no time commitment to implement that story, and therefore cannot be blamed if I take more/less time than expected (what is probable, since estimation is just an educated guess).
While this practice is good because protects the developer from bad managers, at the same time it provides a lot of room for the occurrence of the Student Syndrome, since nobody knows if the story was completed in the predicted time or not, and all the buffers that were mentally created by the developers during estimation get lost in non necessary activities, like gold plating, for example.
And what I have been noticing in projects, is that stories that get played at the beginning of an iteration generally receive a lot more attention (necessary or not) that the ones that are being done close to the iteration’s end, which proves the concept that more work could be done, if we had some intra iteration kind of measure.
Despite being against the addition of any unnecessary metric to a project, I’m starting to believe that something should be done in this case, like reestimate stories in hours, or measuring cycle time instead of story points, or any other kind of practice that brings awareness to the difference between our estimations and what is actually happening in a story level.