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Publication Detail
On the Relationship Between Story Point and Development Effort in Agile Open-Source Software
  • Publication Type:
  • Authors:
    Tawosi V, Moussa R, Sarro F
  • Publication date:
  • Published proceedings:
    16th ACM/IEEE International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement
  • Status:
  • Name of conference:
    Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement (ESEM)
  • Conference place:
    Helsinki, Finland
  • Conference start date:
  • Conference finish date:
  • Language:
  • Keywords:
    Software effort estimation, Story Point, Agile software
Background: Previous work has provided some initial evidence that Story Point (SP) estimated by human-experts may not accurately reflect the effort needed to realise Agile software projects. Aims: In this paper, we aim to shed further light on the relationship between SP and Agile software development effort to understand the extent to which human-estimated SP is a good indicator of user story development effort expressed in terms of time needed to realise it. Method: To this end, we carry out a thorough empirical study involving a total of 37,440 unique user stories from 37 different open-source projects publicly available in the TAWOS dataset. For these user stories, we investigate the correlation between the issue development time (or its approximation when the actual time is not available) and the SP estimated by human-expert by using three widely-used correlation statistics (i.e., Pearson, Kendall and Spearman). Furthermore, we investigate SP estimations made by the human-experts in order to assess the extent to which they are consistent in their estimations throughout the project, i.e., we assess whether the development time of the issues is proportionate to the SP assigned to them. Results: The average results across the three correlation measures reveal that the correlation between the human-expert estimated SP and the approximated development time is strong for only 7% of the projects investigated, and medium (58%) or low (35%) for the remaining ones. Similar results are obtained when the actual development time is considered. Our empirical study also reveals that the estimation made is often not consistent throughout the project and the human estimator tends to misestimate in 78% of the cases. Conclusions: Our empirical results suggest that SP might not be an accurate indicator of open-source Agile software development effort expressed in terms of development time. The impact of its use as an indicator of effort should be explored in future work, for example as a cost-driver in automated effort estimation models or as the prediction target.
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