Module 7: Innovation Finance & Metrics
Why should you use this method?
- To estimate cost and time within agile projects
What is estimation poker?
A tool to calculate cost and time for agile projects by using a deck of cards. This set of cards has an adapted Fibonacci series of values on one side that indicate the size of the task.
Each card indicated a certain amount of complexity until completion. As a team, you can also add an expected time to completion or costs involved to each complexity. Each of the cards is shown in the picture above, but here are some special cases:
0 – task completed: Someone showing this card is a sign of miscommunication. Either you, as a team leader, do not know what your team has already been working on, or your user story is misleading.
100 – very large task/ infinity – huge task: The higher the estimates become, the more it is difficult it is to give a good estimate. Together with the team, try to formulate more concrete user stories.
? – unknown size: This card is probably shown if the team member does not understand the user story or does not feel qualified to estimate its complexity. Depending on the situation, this is completely fine! Not everyone has to be qualified for each task.
How can you apply this method?
0. Before you start
As a team leader, prepare your user story or multiple stories ahead. The structure could be: As a < type of user >, I want < some goal > so that < some reason >. If you already have an idea of what tasks have to be done, get more specific!
1. Invite your team
Invite your team members who are involved in the planned tasks.
2. Distribute cards
Each member of the team gets a whole deck of cards - physically or virtually.
3. Explain the cards
Explain the significance of the values in each card to the team members.
4. Present user story
Present one of the user stories you prepared.
5. Select a card
Each member selects a card from the deck of cards and puts it face down after hearing the user story
6. Flip the cards
After all team members have put their chosen card down, they flip it to show the card's value.
7. Explain the value
Everyone takes a turn and explains why they choose this card.
8. Difference in the values
If the cards of each team member differ significantly, you start again at step 5 until the team's estimations converge to a similar value. If a task is valued as 100 or infinity, split up the user story into smaller parts together with the team.
9. Repeat the exercise
This method is repeated for every problem statement (user story) from each team member.
How can you apply this method?
Keep in mind that this is not a rigid process! Adapt the numbers and their values to your team and develop a version of the estimation poker that is most suitable for you.
Maybe you are using different numbers, such as, for example, 1(< 1h), 2 (2h), 4 (half a day), 8 (full day), 16 (half a week), 32 (a week).
If necessary, adapt the process: maybe you put up the user stories on a task list and ask team members to put down their estimates on a rolling basis to avoid long meetings.
Find a way that is best for your team!
User stories, Deck of Estimation Poker cards (same number as team members), team members, download each card type (visual)