Understanding Story Point estimations

So although any seasoned Scrum Master will issue the immediate caveat that all story point estimations, and specifically burn down velocity, are dependent on both the context of a particular project and the team doing the work, a general rubric can be developed describing "what" specific story point values could or should represent.

Having said that, Minerva Group teams have devised the following general definitions for what story points mean in terms of development effort. Semi colons (;) represent an "and / or" relationship between the related phrases in each definition.

0 - trivial (e.g. a text edit)

1 - not technically complex, simple to implement

2 - not technically complex, more laborious to implement

3 - Somewhat complex or labor intensive

5 - Somewhat complex with unknown factors or external dependencies; extended testing required

8 - Complex or intricate (touching various parts of the system); large external dependency(ies); various unknowns; multilevel testing

13 - Very complex or intricate (touching MOST or ALL of the system); copious external dependencies of varying scale; level of unknown factors barely conceivable; extensive testing.

20 - Epic (Herculean in scale)

40 - Vast Epic (The Iliad and Odyssey combined)

100 - All Greco-roman, Babylonian, Persian, and Hittite epics combined!

So although the last three descriptions (20, 40, 100) are obviously in jest, the overarching point is that anything over a 13 should be broken into smaller stories for manageability, or, at the very least, divided amongst multiple teams, which still, in our humble opinion, would not be an ideal choice.