Think baseball. I'm proposing (tongue mostly in cheek) a new type of development statistic.
We've started to tease our Business Analyst by tracking her batting average for any given day. The BA batting average (BABA) statistic is calculated by keeping track of every question you ask the BA. If the result of the question leads to:
- A simpler solution or less work than you feared, that's a hit
- More complexity than you were aware of, or makes you develop down the path that creates more work, that's a strikeout
My BA batted 2 for 4 yesterday (.500), which isn't too bad for us.
Using the BABA Statistic
It's absolutely impossible for a Business Analyst or the team in general to bat a thousand, but there just shouldn't be very many big surprises in the course of executing a user story. A lower BABA number indicates that the ongoing analysis and development tasking just isn't detailed enough. A high BABA number should give you a fairly high level of confidence in your project estimation. A low BABA number means that your estimates are likely crap.
And yes, there's a project smell in there in regards to communication and the level of analysis and detail in the user stories, but that's for another day.