After few days of joining the LearnCoach, I learned the project priorities come from the CEO and product managers. Each team uses their custom point system to calculate the number of works completed and task progress on weekly sprints. We are using Asana to create a task which we called a “sprint card.” In a sprint card, we include the scope of work for a project and the points.
At the end of the sprint, each team runs a sprint retrospective to calculate the total points they completed. If they did not meet the minimum required points, they need to discuss and write the reasons for not completing it and find ways to solve the problems in the next sprint.
For the design team, I learned that we are using “Effort” as the point system where a point is an equivalent of x number of hours.
The design team could not prioritise the tasks efficiently, prone to miscalculation of a sprint card and lack of visibility on the value of works that the design team is contributing to the business.
I created a simple formula for calculating our points for each task to prioritise our sprint cards efficiently and showcase the value of our work to the business.
How the point system works
The value point is just five flat numbers where the business team has to decide the order of priority level. 5.0 is the highest priority, while 1.0 is the lowest priority.
On the other hand, the story point breaks down into six categories below:
- Design output
- Design specifications
- Risk uncertainty
- Project management
Each category has five flat numbers. Each number has a corresponding point, and the designer needs to fill it in based on his knowledge and best estimate.
Then the designer has to sum the total points for six categories and divide them by six. The total score is the story point.
See the screenshot below and the link to the point system here.
To get the total points, see the formula below.
(Story point * Value point) / 5 = Total points
The nitty-gritty details
I have observed the design team daily and noticed the struggles to cope, so I interviewed the team to learn more about the company structure, cross-functional team processes, design team process, their pain points and challenges.
Note: Due to company internal privacy, I can’t write and share all my detailed findings.
The process for creating the new formula
Going through my research docs and kept my notes and ideas in FIGJAM.
I learned that we need two metrics to calculate the total point for a sprint card. The primary metric (Story point) calculates our design works to estimate the sprint card more effectively. In contrast, the secondary metric (Value point) is related to the business side, where we can prioritise the tasks based on the business goals and OKRs.
Then I created two columns and listed down the points (e.g. 5.0, 4.0, 3.0, 2.0 and 1.0) for each metric in a column, then tried to sum it up, but it seems the total points are not accurate, so I did a Google search and started reading the formula for calculating the GPA in the school system.
Along the way, I have problems getting the story point and value point calculation right since the total point generates random weird decimal points after entering all in whole numbers.
I checked the Excel formula, and it seems correct then I realised that some points under the story point categories are not accurate. To summarise it, the story point and value point should be in whole numbers and parallel.
I created an FAQ so we can use it as a reference.
Who decides the story point?
The design team
Who decides the value?
How do you prioritise the projects based on the total points?
We prioritise the projects based on the Highest Value and Lowest story point, which means that we can quickly complete more high-value business goals with lowest story point projects.
What if there are multiple projects with the same value and story point, how does the design team prioritise the projects?
The stakeholders need to discuss and agree among themselves or Dave can decide the priority order. This needs to be signed off.
What if we chunk the project into smaller pieces of cards, how do you calculate the total story points?
(Sum up the total story points) / total sprint cards = Total story points
We started using the new point system. Along the way, we made some minor tweaks to the story point, and overall, it works well. On the other hand, the value point gets more points when we break down a sprint card into much smaller cards, so we decided to add a value point to the top-level sprint card only.
It is a massive success for the design team as we are not overwhelmed with all the same high priority tasks, and we are managing the weekly workload pretty well. We can calculate a sprint card more accurately and how many story points we can handle in a week. The other teams can see the value that the design team contributes to the business as we can show the breakdown of the points for each sprint card.