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Story Points and Bugs in Scrum

Posted by Ankush on July 11, 2017

Classical question isn’t? should we really assign SP (story points) to every bug? If we don’t do it, our velocity will not showcase true value being delivered. Let me outline what I have gathered from my experience:

There could be different category of bugs:

  1. Bugs could be a historical lot.

Let’s say, you are migrating a traditional product to new tech stack which is being implemented in Agile- Scrum. There could be lot of bugs which needs to be implemented/fixed.

Challenge: These types of bugs are not easy to fix. It takes a lot of times to discover what caused it and then implement the solution. I have seen developers spending days to understand the cause of an issue.

My Take: In theory, we should assign SP to these bugs and let PO prioritize the backlog. Team can pick bugs/features based on the priority. Sometimes, it is very difficult to size bugs because one should understand what has caused it. This exercise takes good amount of times. Hence, I have seen Scrum team assign few hours (budget no of hours) and work on them.


  1. Bugs could come as part of sprint’s user stories.

You worked on a user story and delivered towards the end of the sprint. QA test it and find bugs in it. How should we handle them? Should we create separate user stories?

Challenge: There are a lot of manual testing and limited UAT and unit testing is performed.

My Take: We should not assign story points to these types of bugs. We already assigned story points to user stories which are consumed in current sprint. Hence, we look for automated approach and try to reduce them. Basically, if we have story certain bugs attached, let’s move that story to new sprint with the less value.


  1. Bugs could come after production deployment.

This is a debatable point. A story has already been through testing and PO review. Hence in my opinion, it should be treated as a new feature (The need of the bug is to change the current state of the product to deliver a value). Assigning story points to these items also helps PO to prioritize backlog. Consider, a new feature of X story points vs X story points of few bugs. PO can look those and make an informed decision about the priority.

Let me know your views and thoughts.


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