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Mastering Planning Poker: A Comprehensive Guide to Agile Estimation Techniques

1. What is Planning Poker?

Planning Poker, also known as Scrum Poker, is a consensus-based agile estimation technique used in software development projects to estimate the effort, complexity, and time required to complete tasks or user stories. It is a popular method used by Scrum and other agile teams to facilitate collaborative and unbiased estimation sessions, ensuring that each team member's input is considered when determining the workload.

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2. History of Planning Poker

Planning Poker was introduced by James Grenning in 2002 as an estimation technique for agile software development. It gained widespread popularity after being included in Mike Cohn's book, "Agile Estimating and Planning," published in 2005. The technique was inspired by the Wideband Delphi method and was adapted to fit the agile principles of collaboration, iterative development, and continuous improvement. Over the years, Planning Poker has become a staple in the agile community and is now used by thousands of software development teams worldwide.

3. How Planning Poker Works

Planning Poker follows a structured process to facilitate estimation sessions:

  1. Preparation: The product owner or Scrum Master prepares a list of user stories or tasks to be estimated, along with relevant details and acceptance criteria.
  2. Deck of Cards: Each team member is given a deck of cards with predefined numerical values, usually based on the Fibonacci sequence (1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, etc.) or a modified version.
  3. Presentation: The product owner or Scrum Master presents a user story or task, and the team discusses its requirements, complexities, and possible challenges.
  4. Estimation: Each team member privately selects a card representing their estimate for the effort required to complete the task.
  5. Reveal: All team members reveal their cards simultaneously, ensuring that they are not influenced by others' opinions.
  6. Discussion: If there is a significant difference in estimates, team members discuss their rationale and share their perspectives to clarify any misunderstandings or discrepancies.
  7. Consensus: The process of estimation, reveal, and discussion is repeated until the team reaches a consensus on the estimated effort for the task.
  8. Repeat: The process is repeated for all the user stories or tasks that need estimation.

4. Benefits of Planning Poker

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Planning Poker offers several benefits to agile teams:

  • Collaboration: Planning Poker encourages active participation and collaboration among team members, fostering a shared understanding of the project's requirements and complexities.
  • Avoiding Bias: By revealing estimates simultaneously, Planning Poker minimizes the chances of team members being influenced by others, ensuring that each individual's perspective is considered.
  • Knowledge Sharing: The discussion during Planning Poker sessions enables team members to share their insights, experiences, and concerns, leading to more informed and accurate estimates.
  • Improved Accuracy: The consensus-based approach of Planning Poker helps to eliminate outliers and balance individual biases, resulting in more accurate and reliable estimates.
  • Engagement: Planning Poker makes the estimation process engaging and interactive, keeping team members involved and focused on the task at hand.
  • Quick and Efficient: Planning Poker is a relatively quick and efficient method for estimating tasks, allowing teams to spend more time on development and less on lengthy estimation sessions.

That is a quick catch-up with Planning Poker. I hope it is helpful for your Agile Estimation process. If you want to discover more about Planning Poker, check out our related eBook right here: DevSamurai - eBooks



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