Inevitably Agile

somethings are just inevitable …

Estimation Techniques

estimation-contraption I recently gave a training session at my company on estimation techniques. Karen Greaves (a scrum coach friend) and I came up with the structure. She beat me to posting this (find details here) – so I’ll just give my results 🙂


Results from my session:




What was the outcome?


Timing – at least one of the teams took the full 5 minutes for each game so there was no noticeable time saving.

The teams felt it was easier to estimate weight as they knew what animals and dogs were.

It was a good way to introduce the teams to point estimation. Usually inducing point estimation is done with only planning poker and in my experience teams get a bit hung up on trying to convert points to hours or days.

The guys who were in this session when compared to those who weren’t feel much more comfortable with the estimation process.

The ‘Affinity estimation’ game had all 4 groups with very similar points. Teams also only chatted about contentious issues. It was mentioned that if a team member wasn’t paying attention (or didn’t care) they could just go with the flow. Poker planning however forced each team member to have an opinion and thoughts behind it.

With the last game, Relativity, I did not give the teams a reference story. They noticed and pointed out how much easier it is to estimate when there is a reference.

The teams preferred Poker planning and Affinity Estimation to the other two techniques. They didn’t like the Relativity as they felt that the story points on the PP cards were not accurate enough (if you compare Elephant shrew to Elephant the largest ratio 100:1 was not large enough). I found this odd as that logic did not show in the Poker Planning or Affinity Estimation. The teams said they didn’t notice it in the other games.


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