Fish Story Points

I just realized the odd parallels between a “fish story” and “story point estimation”.

In a fish story, the fisherman tells about the “one that got away”. Famously the size of this mythical fish seems to get bigger and bigger each time the tale is retold. Everyone knows this already, but no one ever argues with the ancient mariner. And since there is no fish there to be measured, the story keeps going.

Does this remind you a bit about story point estimation? Hardly anyone ever pushes back against the idea of size estimation itself. The stories are hardly ever caught, we just talk about them. Their size increases like a school of Fibonacci salmon swimming against the current on their way to the spawning pools. “We can make up time on the next iteration” is a bit like these salmon flipping themselves upwards over a waterfall. Beautiful to watch, but deadly to the fish.

Perhaps it “works” but do you really want to be the one doing the swimming? Sounds a bit fishy to me.