Friday, November 1, 2013

Estimation Game (1)

Whereas Planning Poker works very well for estimating a Sprint or Release while the team is up and running, it is less useful for an early project estimate. It is hard to get a good feel for the size of a project at the beginning of a project, as the team has not established a measure yet. Moreover, early in a project we don’t have the level of information needed to do a meaningful Planning Poker session.

For estimating Use Cases or Epics in an early stage (before they are detailed) we use an aproach we call the Estimation Game. It supposes that Use Cases or Epics have been identified and have a brief description. In this post we share our experiences in applying this game. In the Estimation Game the team, users and other stakeholders cooperate to estimate the Product Backlog together.

The Estimation Game – Basic Version

To get early estimates on a project we invite stakeholder representatives and the members of the Scrum team for an estimation game. Have the stories ready, preferably on cards or stickies so that you can easily move them around on a board. Initially, these stories are on a stack, ordered by business value or some other form of prioritization so that the highest priority story is on top.

All participants stand in front of a board which looks like the one in Figure 68.
Figure 68 : Estimation Board basic version

When it is your turn as a participant you do either of these things:
  1. Estimate a new story from the stack by placing it in a column on the estimation board and explain your estimate to the group;
  2. Change an estimate by moving a story from one column to another and explain to the group why you think this estimate is more appropriate;
  3. Add a new story to the stack and explain why you think it is needed.
Stop adding stories to the estimation board some 15 minutes before the end of the timebox for this meeting (preferably two hours) has been reached but continue changing estimates. The highest priority stories should be on the board by then and a new planning meeting can be scheduled if needed to estimate the remaining stories on the stack. The game is over when all stories are on the board and/or none of the participant feels the need to relocate any more stories.

If a story is ping-ponged between two locations three times, take it from the board, mark it and place it at the bottom of the stack. This story needs more investigation before it can be properly estimated. Stories in the “?/XXL” column should also be investigated more, be broken down into smaller stories or labeled as Epics that will be broken down later in the project.

This process makes estimation very concise and orderly. People have to await their turn to add or move a story, and they have to explain their actions to the group, furthering a better shared understanding of the stories.

Expect stories to be split up or joined. This may be seen as choices the participants have during their turn, but in our experience, it is not necessary to state this as a rule. Participants will spontaneously do this when needed.

A very important advantage of doing an estimation game with stakeholders is that they can share their view on the stories and hear why some stories are hard to build while they seem simple from a user perspective. Making estimation a joint effort creates a shared ownership of the estimates. If stories turn out to be heavier later in the project as a result of added features not mentioned during the early estimation session, the impact is more easily accepted by the business.

This is part 1 of 2 of a post on early estimation in Agile projects. To this end we introduce the Estimation Game. The second part of this post described the Round Trip Verson of the Estimation Game.




17 comments:

  1. Wow it is really wonderful and awesome thus it is very much useful for me to understand many concepts and helped me a lot. it is really explainable very well and i got more information from your blog. Satta Matka

    ReplyDelete
  2. Leader in developing embedded system projects, providing Engineering and SCADA solutions using Raspberry pi, Arduino and more.... spintronics

    ReplyDelete
  3. Your article has piqued plenty of sure assimilation. i'm able to see why past you've got ended this kind of to your liking activity of creating it attractive. Daftar Poker Indonesia

    ReplyDelete
  4. This will open a window containing the HTML source code of the page. Inspect an HTML Element: Right-click on an element basic HTML CODE

    ReplyDelete
  5. Your article has piqued plenty of sure assimilation. i'm able to see why past you've got ended this kind of to your liking activity of creating it attractive. 먹튀검증 안전놀이터 스포츠중계 꽁머니 먹튀검증 토토사이트 안전놀이터 꽁머니

    ReplyDelete
  6. It is perfect time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I've read this post and if I could I desire to suggest you some interesting things or suggestions. Perhaps you could write next articles referring to this article. I want to read more things about it! ผลบอล

    ReplyDelete
  7. What are some of the cheapest places to travel to in the world? From Asia to Africa and Europe, Things to do 's got budget breakdowns for the cheapest places.

    ReplyDelete
  8. This article is very interesting information. It has helped me a lot. Thank you very much for providing this quality information in an easy-to-understand manner. Our site also provides high-quality information, so it will be helpful for your site. 토토검증

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thank you for taking the time to post this blog. I am pleased with your work after reading this post. This is very useful for us. Keep sharing such blogs. 먹튀검증

    ReplyDelete
  10. These provided information was really so nice,thanks for giving that post and the more skills to develop after refer that post. Your articles really impressed for me,because of all information so nice. 먹튀

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thanks for this great post. Download clone hero game for free from: 먹튀

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a very well written article. I’ll be sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful info. Thanks for the post. I’ll definitely return 먹튀검증사이트

    ReplyDelete
  13. Nice post, Thanks for sharing this wonderful article this is really good post here. Thanks for taking the time to post such valuable information. man of the house f95zone

    ReplyDelete
  14. Gangaur Realtech is a professionally managed organisation specializing in real estate services where integrated services are provided by professionals to its clients seeking increased value by owning, occupying or investing in real estate. click here

    ReplyDelete