Should bug tickets count towards velocity?

Also known as: “should bugs get story points?”

No. No they should not. Here’s why:

Reason #1: We already earned those points when we built the feature. We don’t get more points because the feature is buggy. An 8 point feature is 8 points no matter how much time it takes or how many bugs we introduce.

Reason #2: Bugs should hurt velocity. If we count bugs toward velocity, then we’re rewarding bug-riddled features.

Reason #3: Estimates for bug tickets are random. For most bugs, 90% of the effort is the investigation. There’s no way to know how involved that will be. Any estimates we give those tickets are guesses, so why bother?

Reason #4: Velocity measures complexity, not value. Bug fixes can be as valuable as new features, so why shouldn’t they contribute to velocity? Because story points don’t estimate value, they estimate complexity. If we want to measure value, then that’s what Value Velocity is for.

If you disagree, then consider whether your definition of a “bug” is too loose. A requirement that changed or was never documented is not a bug. A feature that doesn’t work how someone wants is not a bug. Those are changes. A bug must contradict the requirements as written when you built the feature.

If you’re still objecting, then let me know why! I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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