Tasty Estimation

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Timing: 30-60 min. depending on the number of stories

Goal: to practice the relative estimation technique by comparing user stories

Preparation:

  • Backlog items written or printed on index cards
  • Items should describe activities, which are well known to the team members and can be quickly estimated. You can play the game either with the real backlog or you can use one of the tasty backlogs provided below.
  • About 5-7 index cards of a different color to mark columns.
  • You need a room with a table big enough to fit all team members and all cards

Execution/Directions:

  • Put the cards on one deck and mix them
  • The first team member takes the card and puts it on an arbitrary place on a table
  • The next team member takes the next card. If it seems to him smaller that the first one, he puts it left to the first card. If it seems to him bigger that the first one, he puts it right to the first card. If it seems to him of roughly the same size, he puts it under the first card.
  • The next team member can
    • Take the next card from the deck and do the same decision as the previous team member.
    • Move and card lying on the table to a different column (with appropriate reasoning).
  • The other team members continue these steps until:
    • They run out of cards and
    • All team members are satisfied with the placement of the cards
  • At the end of the game it is possible to assign labels for the columns, e.g. XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL or Fibonacci numbers.

Discussion:

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of this estimation technique?
  • Do you know any other estimation techniques?
  • Is an estimation uncertainty taken into account?
  • What is your personal experience with estimation?
  • What happened to backlog items with insufficient amount of information?
Attached are two sample sets of typical meals – Tasty_estimation-international_meals containing international (mostly European) meals and Tasty_estimation-Czech_meals containing typical Czech meals. The size of each item is the complexity of the cooking process. The sets contain meals of various types: easy, difficult, well-known, ambiguous, with imcomplete information, the meals you have probably never heard of, etc. Just like a typical backlog.
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3 Responses to "Tasty Estimation"
  • Tim Yevgrashyn June 17, 2012 at 8:38 am

    Great example of Sizing way of estimations, which I like the most.

    And especially good is your sample backlog for Meals estimations. Before I used to work with one borrowed from White Elephant Sizing game http://tastycupcakes.org/2009/09/sizing-game/ and now yours looks even more attractive :-)

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  • Michael Tibbert July 6, 2012 at 6:01 am

    My teams really enjoyed this game. The simplicity allows the teams to concentrate on the meaning. It is a real fun estimation game. Thanks

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  • Declan Whelan February 2, 2016 at 4:57 am

    This is a great exercise to experience relative estimation. I like it because most people know all the meals so you don’t have to explain them. However, there are a a couple of unusual meals which triggers conversation on how to deal with uncertainty when estimating user stories.

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