Monday, April 13, 2015

Agile Stance Series Part 6 - Estimation (2 of 2)

This is part 6 of the series of post around Agile.

Estimation (2 of 2)

Planning poker is an effective estimation aid that promotes a collaborative estimation consensus between the Sprint Team. The technique involves each member of the Sprint Team making 'silent bid' (estimate) using a playing card by placing it face down. By placing the card face down, each estimate is not influenced by any others. If all estimates are the same, a consensus has been reached. If there are differing estimates, this bring conversation on what people see as being involved in the task taking the team into a deep level of understanding and ironing out assumptions that have been made.

User Stories that that cannot be completed in a single Sprint, must be broken down into smaller manageable chunks. When the second User Story is selected for estimation, it is compared to the first. If it is twice as complex, it will be allocated twice as many Story Points. If it's half the complexity, it will be given half the amount of Story Points. If it is of a similar complexity, it will be given the same amount of Story Points. The key to this technique is maintaining a consistency and estimating each User Story consistently with the previous User Stories. Maintaining consistency will allow the measurement of velocity over several Sprints. Without this consistency, the value of velocity and forecasting are lost.

The estimation will be an estimate to complete the User Story in its entirety, including analysis, development, unit testing, integration testing and acceptance. This emphasizes the concept of multi-functional teams, where each of the Sprint Team member will be required to do more than just a single task, be that task analysis, development, testing or integration. The Sprint Team is a dynamic group of individuals that are able to support each other and handle a range of tasks and responsibilities.

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