Planning poker is a team consensus-based technique used to estimate effort. It is primarily used when estimating User Stories in Sprint Planning events as it is more accurate than other estimation techniques. It uses a pack of cards using the Fibonacci sequence (or a modified sequence) of 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 20, 40, 100. Other versions use animals of various sizes rather than numbers to make it more abstract.
HOW TO USE
Each team member gets a deck of 13 cards with specific numbering above. Each team member votes independently on how big the user story is. Each team member places their card face down in front of them. Then everyone turns over their cards together to prevent biases or influencing. Repeat until the team reaches a consensus on the estimate for that story.
There are a number of online websites for running your Planning Poker event, some are better than others. Here is a great read on the comparison of some online sites by Sasha Steskal: Scrum Planning Poker Tools Comparison
Use an application such as Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams using homemade cards.
Each member shows their card at the same time on the screen. Could also use the chat function if video is not working.
WHEN TO USE
Used by the Product Owner after an initial Product Backlog is written.
Used in Sprint Planning to determine estimates for User Stories (also called PBIs).
NEED MORE HELP?
Take a look at this short video from Mountain Goat Software's Mike Cohn on how to run Planning Poker:
For other facilitation tools and techniques, refer back to the Facilitation Techniques Index.
To see how you can use these techniques in your Scrum Events, refer to our Scrum Events Facilitation Tools article.
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