Planning Poker is an agile estimating and planning technique that is consensus-based. Teams estimating their product backlogs with planning poker consistently report that they arrive at more accurate estimates because there is an equal share of expert opinions.
Planning poker is a great problem-solving tool which allows each estimating expert to discuss features and ask questions to the product owner as needed. The goal of planning poker is to make sure each person on the development team actively participates in the estimation process and contributes his or her knowledge. The activity is especially useful for projects where tasks will be delivered by multiple experts that require detail to accurately estimate the time and resources needed to deliver the project.
Poker sessions are usually attended by the project team (Developers, Business Analyst, Quality Analyst, UX Lead, Product Owner and Scrum Master). Although planning poker is most often associated with software development, the activity can be used with any project group that needs to estimate the time it will take to complete a project.
- Each member of the team is given a set of cards of one colour suit. Each card in a suit have values (0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 20, 40 and 100) representing the number of story points, ideal days, or other units in which the team estimates. Also in the deck are ? cards (used if a team member is unsure) and an infinity card (used if a team member believes the task cannot be completed).
- The product owner reads out the item that the team is about to estimate.
- The item is discussed until the team has a clear understanding of the requirements.
- Each team member selects a card representing their estimate and places it face down on the table.
- Once all the cards are placed on the table, the selected cards are shown.
- If the selected cards are different then the team explain their reasons for their choices. Particular attention is placed on the highest and lowest estimators to explain their choices.
- Steps 4 to 6 are repeated until the team reach consensus on the estimate for the item.
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