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Have the team stand-up in a half circle facing their sizing board.
Shuffle a deck of story cards and place them face down on a table in front of the sizing board. Place a timer next to the cards.
The game begins when the facilitator starts the timer, which is the signal for the first member to perform the following steps:
It is important assigning the card to one of the five columns has to be the player’s own decision, without any external interference. This is why the player should provide the reason for his or her decision after the card has been assigned. If the player does not assign the card within one minute, the card will be assigned to the column in the middle. The player then restarts the timer for the next player.
After sizing the card, the player presents his or her reason. The reason may be based on expert knowledge, from past experiences, or observations from other projects. It is essential that the rest of the team observes and listens carefully to understand the overall context and development of the board. All other team members are therefore silent without discussions or judgment.
After a few rounds, there should be enough cards on the board to give the team members the option to, on their turn, move an existing card on the board into a different column instead of picking a new card from the deck. As before, the player reads the story out loud followed by a reason which supports the decision to re-size.
Once all user story cards are on the board and sized, each team member, on their turn, can either continue moving cards between columns or simply “pass” if they are satisfied with the current results. If a player does not make a decision within the one-minute time-limit, it will be interpreted as a “pass”.
The game ends when the pile of story cards is gone and every member of the team signals “pass”.
The biggest challenge in the beginning is the lack of a reference story – the Chihuahua (see Doggy Planning). Because no card has been assigned yet, the first player will not have something to compare his or her story to. And since the cards will be shuffled, we won’t know if the first stories are really small, medium, or large until we uncover more stories. This is OK and and important lesson of the game. Every player will have the opportunity to change their mind in future rounds, so the important thing is to just get started. Remember, the game does not stop until all players signal “pass”.
It is quite typical that two or more players disagree about a few assignments, and the card may end up endlessly moving up and down the board. If this happens, just take the card and place it on the bottom of the deck. That way, the sizing can continue and the card should have more context after all the other cards have been sized.
CREDIT: Jochen Krebs