We're confused by the story times shown

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2010-02-15
2013-05-28
• John Munsch - 2010-02-15

If you look at the list of stories in an iteration you'll see Act., Rem., Cur. Est., and Orig. Est. We originally put in an estimate when we created a story and that amount seems to show as the Cur. Est. with Orig. Est. staying as zero for those stories where we haven't yet added any tasks with estimates.

As soon as we add tasks the the Cur. Est. turns gray on in the list of stories. Further, if there are actual estimates on any of the tasks then both the Rem. and Cur. Est. are updated to the total on all of the tasks.

We find this all a little confusing. The Orig. Est. never seems to go non-zero for anything we've done so far. So what should each of these times represent? Is there anything that would show the original estimate for the story after you add any tasks with times? Should there be? Is the current behavior of all these times considered to be correct?

• Jason Jackson - 2010-02-18

Hey John,

When a story is created, if you put an Estimated Hours that's the Cur. Est. and because no time has been logged against the story that's also the time remaining. A story estimate is overridden by it's task estimates. Where I work, we use story estimates to rough out the stories in the backlog to help get an idea of our iteration during planning/prioritization. Then we go on to define tasks with estimates for our iteration, which is a better estimate b/c we've done a work breakdown. We might make a few adjustments based on this before we start the iteration.

If you're adding stories in an iteration that isn't started, Orig. Est. is set to the total of task estimates. When you start the iteration, Orig. Est. remains the same even if you add a discovered task to the story. In other words, this preserves your original estimate when the iteration was started. It's useful for things like the Accuracy Orig. vs. Current Est, etc.

Cur. Est. reflects the current estimate of the story, including discovered tasks if you've added any after the iteration was started. It's also possible to adjust the time left for a task with the Left to do in Edit Time, which is also reflected in the current estimate while an iteration is in progress.

Rem. (remaining) is Cur. Est. minus Act. because you've done Act. hours, the current estimate is Cur. Est. so you expect to have the difference remaining. Actual is updated by logging time against the tasks.

Hope that all makes sense.. It sounds like you're adding stories to an already started iteration, which leaves Orig. Est. at zero because it's a discovered/added story and didn't have an estimate at the time the iteration was started. It will have a current estimate, actual and remaining, but wasn't part of the original plan.

-Jason