Planning Poker

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Timing: 5 mins



Participants in an estimation meeting are each given a set of cards. Each card contains an estimate. Units used vary, they can be days, ideal days, story points, etc. The cards are numbered to account for the fact that the longer an estimate is, the more uncertainty it contains (e.g 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 20, 40). When an item (feature, task, etc.) is presented, without mentioning numbers, a discussion takes place to clarify assumptions and risks.
Each participant then lays a card face down representing their estimate. Simultaneously, the cards are turned over. If all estimates are relatively close, then there is no more discussion needed, the estimate is recorded and the group moves on to the next item. If some participants had high or low estimates, then they are given a chance to justify their estimate as they may have been thinking of something others were not aware of. Repeat the estimation process until a consensus is reached.

Learning Points:

  • The wisdom of crowds is more accurate than individual estimates.
  • Using the cards avoids the influence of others while estimating.
  • It encourages all team members to participate
  • Discourages the talkative members from dominating (too soon anyway).

CREDIT: James Grenning

Posted by Mike

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