During the planning meeting, two sprints ago, after the team made their estimates, I proposed: what if we split the stories with estimates bigger than 5? Their first reaction, as expected, was: are you crazy? These are the smallest stories we can think! Ok, I said, so let’s analyse one by one…
An important statement is that the “5″ here is about our team’s scale. Other teams can have different scales.
After the analysis, some stories that were 13 became two stories, and the sum of their estimates were in general less than 13. Also, some stories that were 8 became two stories, with their estimates’s sum also less than 8. Just in some very very special cases we kept an 8. But we struggled to split all stories above 8.
All stories were DONE by the end of the sprint. The main advantages of splitting big stories is that the team often cuts out most of the uncertainties by doing it, and the result often is more stories with less points, which can be translated to more velocity.