Agile Story Point Estimation Techniques - Planning Poker

In my previous article, we have discussed what is Agile Story Point Estimation. In this article, we will learn how to estimate story points using "Planning Poker" cards.

Planning Poker is a relative estimation technique used by teams to estimate the user story.

Before starting, the planning poker team will define and agree on the parameters to measure the amount of work like a number of screens and number of fields etc. Identify a reference story that the team has done before or understands very well. Ideally, they will compare other stories with the reference story and one by one do the estimation.

  1. Product Owner will explain the story to be estimated and the development team will ask questions if they have any issues or unclarity. For example -

    Design Related- Do we have to learn new things before starting the design/HTML/jQuery etc?
    Coding Related- Do we have any code class library ready or we have to write it from the scratch?
    Testing Related- Any specific setup required for Unit testing?

    Other questions like any dependencies in tasks, does anyone have written code for similar stories etc. are also included.

  2. Once the Team understands the user story, they compare the story with the reference story that they have selected.

  3. Each team member comes up with the size of the story related to the reference user story.

  4. Team members show the card to everyone.

    Image Source: Autentia Planning Poker 

  5. If the team member has consensus or the variance is less, assign the story points and move on to the next.

  6. If there are conflicts, then each team member explains the rationale behind the number.

  7. The product owner explains the story further or clarifies misunderstanding if any.

  8. Team repeats steps until the team has consensus or variance is less or up to three rounds.
    image source:  
Even after three rounds, if there is no consensus and variance is high, assign the biggest number and move forward.

For first few months with the team, it's challenging but once the team is used to it, it will be great fun and useful for the product owner to make decisions for the team as well as the business.

I hope you liked this article. In my next article, we will discuss T-Shirt size estimation.


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