Ouija Board Estimation

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Sit the team around a table (ideally a round one) and stick post-its around the table to represent the fibonacci sequence of size (1,2,3,5,8,13). Place a story in the centre of the table, and each team member places there finger on it. In silence, the team “collaboratively” push or pull the story to the size they believe it represents.

Well formed, well understood stories move freely and easily. Poorly defined or misunderstood stories stay in the centre of the table – when this occurs the facilitator invites the team to break their silence and discuss before trying again.

Dominant team members will be revealed by their white knuckles, or by putting two fingers on the card instead of just one. Facilitators should be aware of this and highlight that to the team.

Great fun and a really fun alternative to planning poker. You can see this in action by viewing Ouija Board Estimation via YouTube

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2 Responses to "Ouija Board Estimation"
  • Don McGreal March 28, 2012 at 7:51 am

    Very interesting. I will have to try this one.
    How do you deal with monster epics? Where would they drag the card?
    And what about if you have a question? I assume if you aren’t sure about a story, you would let the others drag the card and not get much of an opportunity to ask questions.

    Thanks for the post. Looks like a great game!

    Don

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  • Paul Goddard March 29, 2012 at 6:47 am

    Hi Don – thanks for reading.

    I have added an extra post-it note on the table for “epic” stories, usually the infinity symbol to represent massive stories which need further breaking down.

    You could introduce a “right to question” rule which anyone can use after a vote is cast. I have never needed it as the team members have trusted others enough to go with their guidance without the need to question it, but don’t see why questions can’t be asked.

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