Should we reset our reference stories?

Bill, an experienced and veteran Scrum Master just completing Sprint 1 with a newly launched team, emailed in to say his team got way more done in Sprint 1 then they had estimated. They pulled in half as much work again as their original Sprint 1 commitment. Congratulations! Bill asks if his team should choose larger reference stories and reset their estimates so that they can work with smaller point numbers for a while but loose comparative velocity to Sprint 1, or if they should keep their current reference stories and values. Here’s what I wrote back:

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Hi Bill! Savvy questions! To my mind, given this is a new team and one of the first in this company, I’d prioritize the decision based on morale. Which will delight the team? It’s not too much more effort for them to create new, larger, reference stories and re-set their statistics. It’s also not too much more effort for them to split 33 or so stories into these tiny buckets as they double velocity and approach 100 points per sprint under their current estimating scheme. So, my question to you as our informed observer, embedded with the team, is do you think they would be more proud of themselves to have to choose new reference stories because they crushed the first batch faster than any of them thought they could, or to get to split epics down into 33 or so stories as they approach doubling velocity because they can chew up and deliver those story sizes so quickly?

Ultimately, as the team increases in speed, they’ll be pulling in huge amounts of points anyway. So this is a good problem that they’ll need to take on sooner or later. My leaning is to keeping the same point schema, and showing the acceleration trend as they continue to become more and even more awesome together!

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