Planning Poker Scrum estimation technique

Like it or not, in technology, delivery dates and time estimates are a day-to-day reality for the vast majority of teams. This blog was to facilitate your journey to using planning poker. The kanban planning board enables you to develop your story point estimates quickly and efficiently. Jira software is an issue tracking tool that helps track bugs, issues, and tasks to get your work done faster and better. Planning poker can become a contentious process if users feel they have to commit to something they would never have agreed upon otherwise or vice versa.

definition of planning poker

When the feature has been fully discussed, each estimator privately selects one card to represent his or her estimate. Each estimator is holding a deck of Planning Poker cards with values like 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 20, 40 and 100, which is the sequence we recommend. The values represent the number of story points, ideal days, or other units in which the team estimates. The Product Owner provides a short overview of one user story to be estimated.

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Someone with an understanding of the feature, usually the product owner, presents the feature. A playful approach to estimation, used by many Agile teams. The process repeats until all estimates converge around the same value. A timer can be used to ensure that each round of estimation doesn’t take too long. MRP allows you to manage production planning and inventory control in such a way that no element is ever missing for the flow of your business-processes. If the cards are different, the aim is to discuss those values that are particularly distant.

  • Later, the developers representing the lowest value explained the ideas behind their choices.
  • At first glance, playing poker at work might seems strange and unproductive.
  • Each person involved in the estimation process will determine how much effort is required and lay a card face down in front of them reflecting that estimate.
  • This technique can help the team get closer to the workload or complexity of the task and ensure that everyone agrees.
  • This type of conversation is vital, and at the end of it, everyone’s understanding of the work to be done is vastly improved.
  • Next, the team members with the lowest and highest estimate explain their estimates to the group.

Bring the team together to discuss a story or group of stories. It is usually done in the scrum to help plan each development, bug, or issue that needs to be completed for the sprint to end. In that case, they can use the deck, choose one at a time, and finally add up all of them together to get the final estimate. This technique works best for larger teams where the members reside in different geographies or time zones. Planning poker doesn’t allow planning during sprints where everything is smoothly running.

The sum in the far right column performs a cross product sum of the assessment values times the relative weights for each of the candidate solutions. The membrane switches solution fared better overall even though it didn’t score the best on any of the individual criteria. The estimate is developed collaboratively by the extended development team.

Those who have significantly higher or lower estimates are given the chance to justify the estimate. Read all you have to know about an efficient project meeting. The most important thing is that everyone can participate and share their thoughts on how to start working on the task.

We wrote more about estimation units and Story Points in this article. By haggling over points, a uniform understanding and knowledge is built up among all participants. Often a teammate simply doesn’t have the information to help provide an estimate on a piece of work. Whatever the team decides, consider that one of your teammates is tired and is happy to take a break to refocus their attention. Later, the developers representing the lowest value explained the ideas behind their choices. You can also ignore the definition of a story and rely entirely on the intuition of your team.

How Planning Poker benefits Agile Projects?

Now that everyone has heard the story, the group will discuss it. The group will also use this time to ask questions about the story. This is an estimation technique where all members of the project team make estimates simultaneously and come to a consensus.

definition of planning poker

The Product Owner makes sure that it is clear to everyone what needs to be done within the scope of the User Story / Task. Players can always ask questions if the subject matter is unclear. The gamification of estimation takes this largely out of the equation, so long as the team demonstrates courage and encourages everyone to speak up and participate. The conversations which result for widely differing sizes are usually where the most important refinement of requirements happens. Most developers can identify quite quickly when a simple story is a “1” or a “2” or maybe a “3”, and these numbers tend to have fairly broad agreement.

Agile Estimation – Relative vs Absolute

To conclude, planning poker is not the best option if the team accounts for time outside the working hours, like planning things while at a conference. The next step is to develop another user story based on the agreed criteria. This story usually has its basis on how long the sprint has left compared to everything else which is still in progress. Unlike other estimation techniques, this is the only process that shows individual estimations at the end of sessions. As you have observed, product management and development have constantly been in demand over the years.

This process repeats steps thirteen through eighteen until you achieve the goal of not using formal estimation to determine how much time will be required. The facilitator can ask clarifying questions during or after this process to understand everyone’s thinking before moving on to the next item for estimation. It is a straightforward technique suitable for most people who have never used estimation techniques before. This approach avoids biasing each other’s ideas by discussing them.

definition of planning poker

What members like about this tool is that you can invite unlimited guests into sessions and they don’t have to be members. If you’re a member of our Agile Mentors Community you already have access to a Planning Poker® tool that we developed for you to use with your team. Once this new deliberation ends, everyone will go through their deck and show them again. If a participant continues to agree with their last choice, then they will repeat the card or eventually choose a new one. Everyone calls their cards simultaneously by turning them over.

If a player shows a higher card, it conveys that the story will be completed with greater difficulty and take a longer period to complete. Keep in mind that it’s common for estimates to vary a lot. At the estimation meeting, each estimator is given one deck of the cards. The feature list, often a list of user stories, describes some software that needs to be developed. Requiring a consensus among the team, rather than having one person dictate estimates, can increase morale by giving everyone on the cross-functional team a vote. When the group has concluded this new round of discussion, everyone will again review their cards and either keep their previous choice or select a new one.

Step 2: Read the story

A Product owner, Agile coach or a Scrum Master can login and preload a set of items that are to be estimated. A private URL would be shared then with the estimators who would login and join the skype session or conference call. Below diagram describes the list of cards that are used as part of planning poker estimation and their interpretation. The estimators would discuss the feature by asking questions of the product owner as required.

definition of planning poker

This score is the number of „story points“ – a relative measure of complexity or risk – which can be fed into planning and forecasting processes. Planning poker is a variation of the Wideband delphi method. Planning Poker is a consensus-based technique of gambling and estimation, also known as Scrum Poker, implemented within the agile teams, mainly within the scope of software development. Planning Poker in agile is a very common methodology that lets you estimate the time and effort required to deliver the project. It has helped many teams and organizations to deliver timely projects with fewer bugs. It was released in 2002 and has made its special place in all software companies.

This technique was designed to help companies estimate timelines accurately and enhance teamwork. Planning poker is a consensus-based, gamified technique for estimating, mostly used to estimate effort or relative size of development goals in software development. According to some study on the accuracy of estimation of effort between individual and group in an experiment for definition of planning poker a software project. 20 software professionals from the same company individually estimated the work effort required to implement the same software development project. The participants had different background and roles and the software project had previously been implemented. Each group agreed on one estimation by discussing and combining of the knowledge among them.

The t-shirt scale provides a smaller and easier, non-mathematical, scale for Scrum teams that are examining the complexity of the backlog items. T-shirt size is also a concept that can be integrated by all team members. Depending on the composition and interests of the Scrum team members, other non-numerical scales can be adopted, like beer or coffee drinking sizes. Here are some of the scales used during planning poker sessions to classify the backlog items.

Once a team knows it’s velocity, and has estimates for a body of work then you can make a prediction about when that work will be completed. It is not convertible to time or cost in the way that you can convert inches to centimetres. You can, however, use it as a leading indicator of the cost or time you are likely to need to achieve a goal. Typically, conversations during the game will be focused on the perspectives that differ the most. This means that details that will not effect the estimate are less likely to be discussed and the conversation is much more efficient. It assumes that the estimation process is occurring with everyone present in the same location, but with minor changes the process can be performed in a distributed manner.

The benefits

It helps to remember the story or task the team recently completed and agrees on the value. The method described below shows you how to use Planning Poker to make estimates. However, it is important to understand that each team differs slightly from the other. You can try to adjust the rules and processes to find the solution that works best for your team. 352’s new platform has made estimating more effective and enjoyable for all of them.- Mike Cohn, Founding Member and Owner of Mountain Goat Software. Import & export with Jira and other project management software available.

Expected Benefits

The high and low estimators should especially share their reasons. After further discussion, each estimator reselects an estimate card, and all cards are again revealed at the same time. It can encourage newer employees to speak up by playing a card and explaining their logic.

Hence, there’s less risk in committing too many resources early in a project before knowing what kind of progress you can realistically make. It also helps avoid having fewer people work on something with enough capacity to support earlier. „Planning Poker or How to avoid analysis paralysis while release planning“ by James Grenning – the original paper proposing Planning Poker. Let’s say you need 4 features before you can launch a new advertising campaign. Your marketing team need to decide whether to tie the campaign into a sporting event in the Spring, or a music festival in the Summer.

Hence, there are no issues to address, and you can plan less in the long run than the other options available. Planning poker only really works well with tasks that have been broken down into small enough chunks to fit a particular time frame. The latter occurrence means you will need to add new tasks and then estimate/prioritize all over again, like in step two. This entire procedure is repeated at least once during each subsequent sprint until either this project has been completed or something breaks that no one expected would happen. The next day, or whenever they start working on things again after that point, another retrospective meeting occurs so everyone can discuss the victories and errors of this sprint.

If no coffee break card has been played for a while, a break is taken just like that. If the results are close together or even the same, a discussion is unnecessary. However, if the results are far apart, the players with the highest and lowest scores should briefly explain why they think a task is so time-consuming/complex or quickly solved/easy.