How Does Planning Poker Work?

Planning poker, also called Scrum poker, is a consensus-based, gamified technique for estimating, mostly used to estimate effort or relative size of development goals in software development. In planning poker, members of the group make estimates by playing numbered cards face-down to the table, instead of speaking them aloud.

The cards are revealed, and the estimates are then discussed. By hiding the estimates until they are all revealed, Planning Poker avoids the bias towards the first numbers spoken and the influence of the largest and smallest numbers on the rest of the group.

Planning Poker is a variation of the Wideband Delphi method. It was first proposed by James Grenning in 2002 as a way to estimate software development effort.

Planning Poker is particularly useful for agile software development, as it encourages team members to think independently and to discuss their estimates openly. The technique has been shown to improve estimation accuracy over traditional methods such as using story points or ideal days.

PRO TIP:Planning Poker is an effective way to reach a consensus on the effort required to complete tasks within a project. It works by having each team member make an independent estimate for the task, then discussing the estimates and reaching a consensus on the final estimate. The key is to ensure that all team members are comfortable with the estimate before it is finalized.

To play Planning Poker, each player is given a deck of cards with values ranging from 0 to 21 (or sometimes 0 to 50). The most common values are 0, 1/2, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 20 and 40.

Each player selects a card from their deck that represents their estimate of the amount of work required for the user story being discussed. .

Once all players have selected a card, all players reveal their card at the same time. The player with the Lowest estimate begins a discussion on why they believe their estimate is correct. Other players may share their reasoning behind their estimates as well.

After discussion, each player selects a new card from their deck that represents their revised estimate. This process continues until all players agree on an estimate.

Planning Poker is an effective estimation technique because it forces team members to think independently and to justify their estimates openly.