We have all heard of the Fibonacci series which provides the size scale of Agile User Stories, but who was Fibonacci? I had no idea until I read something about him by chance in a book by Alex Bellos.
Leonardo Fibonacci was an Italian who grew up in what is now the Algerian city of Bejaia. There he learned the Indian numbering system 1 – 9 and the Arabic invention of the concept of zero. At the time, the Roman number system was still the only system in use in the West. In the Roman system, numbers are denoted by the letters I, V, X, D, C and M; there is no symbol for zero. Doing any form of arithmetic with this numbering system is extremely difficult; the Romans made no advances in maths.
Fibonacci realised the advantages of the Indian/Arabic system and in the year 1202 published a book entitled Liber Abaci. Not everyone was immediately convinced by the new system. Professional abacus operators felt threatened by the easier arithmetic. The book appeared during the period of the Crusades against Islam, so the clergy were suspicious of anything of Arab origin. It was not until the fifteenth century that Roman numerals were finally superseded.
I was impressed by the interesting parallel between this story and recent developments in software measurement 🙂
The same book introduced the number series that we now know as the Fibonacci series, which was designed to model the growth in the population of rabbits based on some idealized assumptions. It’s seems very appropriate that this scale should be adopted by the Agilists!
Charles Symons (COSMIC, of course)