Why? (We need 3 more why’s to get to 5, so stay with me!)
There are many good reasons for it, I just want to understand yours before I can suggest any improvement to the process.
Cool, so we have the first reason for estimating, I understand your reason number one for estimating stories is to be able to facilitate better communication with management in order to change priority based on task size.
How often does that happen?
Oh, I do, but that depends on the team and project. As I said, there are many problems that can be effectively solved by estimates. Let me share two stories along with problems we solved.
Problem: What is the rough cost of a project?
Story: An example from a client recently, we spent 1 week estimating a complex project, and afterwards it got canceled because the high level estimate of 6 months was too much. The estimation process was a great tool to inform the project management team of the rough costs.
Problem: Reduce the risk of not delivering on time, resulting in millions of pounds of losses in fines.
Problem: Reduce risk of integration issues across many teams delivering a huge project.
Story: Another example from a different project. We had a hard deadline because of shareholder agreements (in 9 months time). We used estimations half way through the process to make the decision we need to share the work with another team because otherwise we would not be able to deliver on time. We estimated from the very beginning, but only half way through the project we realized we are far too behind the schedule we had to take an action. So, in essence, we used the estimation process to inform resource allocation. (P.S. We also used estimations to set milestones to create touch base points with 6 other teams to do integration testing for risk reduction) .The project was delivered on time eventually.
I have also been on many projects where there were no estimations. We did not have any problem there that could be solved by estimations.
I hope this clarifies a bit why I ask so many questions and why I need to know more about your environment before we suggest improvements