How Do I Convert Story Points to Hours?

So someone told you that in “Agile” we estimate in “story points” rather than hours. Since you want to be Agile you decide that’s the right thing to do. Great.

But almost immediately a conundrum arises: How the heck do we convert these story points into an actual estimate that we care time? What’s the dang formula?

Sorry, but I’m going to be a jerk and answer your question with a question.

Why do you feel you need to know how many hours something will take? It’s probably because you’re trying to “forecast” when you can do a “release” of your software, right?

Here’s my next question: What if you stopped doing “releases” all together and instead continuously delivered business value to production? Would it still matter how many hours that PBI was going to take, or would it be good enough to know that it will be done within a few days and then immediately deployed to actual users?

Now imagine how much simpler things would get if you didn’t feel the need to care so much about estimates. Luckily we’re not building bridges here, we’re building small digital artifacts that can be delivered to people instantaneously over the internet when they’re done.

If you didn’t try to deliver the whole darn thing at once, then it wouldn’t all need to be right at once. You could break something small instead of something huge. You could deliver a small broken thing in a few days rather than a huge broken thing after months of anticipation.

How do we stop caring so much about estimates? Investigating that question could change everything.