How to estimate when an epic will be done
This article goes over how to estimate when an epic will be done using the methods:
- Ticket Count
- Story Points
- Monte Carlo
T-shirt size provides a rough estimate of how long it would take a delivery team to finish an epic.
- XS = 0–1 weeks
- S = 2–4 weeks
- M = 5–8 weeks
- L = 9–12 weeks
- XL = +13 weeks
Since the t-shirt size is a high-level estimate, it’s usually given before a technical design or story breakdown (ticket creation) is done.
If you’re doing Scrum/Kanban, you can check your Agile report to see how long it takes a developer to complete a ticket.
1 developer closes 1 ticket every 1 week and epic has 10 tickets:
- 10 tickets / 1 developer = 10 weeks
- 10 tickets / 2 developers = 5 weeks
- 10 tickets / 3 developers = 3.3 weeks
If you’re doing Scrum/Kanban, you can check your Agile report to see how many story points a developer completes in a week.
1 developer does 3 points every 1 week and epic has 30 points (10 tickets × 3 points):
- 30 points / (1 developer × 3 points) = 10 weeks
- 30 tickets / (2 developers × 3 points) = 5 weeks
- 30 tickets / (3 developers × 3 points) = 3.3 weeks
If you have existing data, you can run a Monte Carlo simulation.
If you’re using Jira, you can use the ActionableAgile plugin charts:
Once your epic has a target date, you should always add a buffer because it’s rare for projects to complete on time since there are always interrupts, changes, and bugs.
- Optimistic = 1.25x
- Conservative = 1.5x
- Pessimistic = 2x
Given an epic is estimated to take 10 weeks to complete:
- Optimistic = 10 weeks × 1.25 = 12.5 weeks
- Conservative = 10 weeks × 1.5 = 15 weeks
- Pessimistic = 10 weeks × 2 = 20 weeks