Poker planning is a technique used in agile software development for estimating task and work. This technique uses consensus based decision in the team where everyone is part of the estimation. Its also uses “gamification” for estimation with playing cards. And a third idea is to uses relative estimation, which shortly means that you estimate things against each other and try to learn from past experience.

For playing the team needs a card deck. The playing cards have a sequence that range from 0, ½, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 20, 40 to 100. You can easily do your on card of deck with a printer and a scissor or you can buy it online.

The playing “estimation” round

The product owner, Scrum Master or someone else starts with describing the story/work that are planned to develop. After the introduction of the story the team uses is owns playing card to estimate. No one shows the picked cards until every other team members as chosen a card. When everyone have picked a card its time to show them at the same time. Those who have picked the highest and lowest estimation should explain there view and also if the other team members have an interesting input. If there are a difference in the estimation, the team take an another estimation round with new information fresh in mind. This process continues until consensus is achieved in the team.

When should a do planning poker

Planning poker is a great to play right after the planning of product backlog. In agile software development things are done iterative so is estimation. The product backlog is a live and flexible document so there will always be new things to estimate, so make it a routine to estimate just before every new iteration. Then the backlog will be updated with new estimation before the team planning.

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Thanks to Jimmy Janlén for letting me use his pictures from Agile Topics Cards.

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