A common way to estimate user stories is the planning poker. In planning poker, every team member plays a card to estimate a story. The number of this card stands for the story points.
First of all, the product owner has to the read the user story. After discussing and clearing all questions up to it, every team member discards a card face-down. Playing this way makes it possible to estimate without the influence of other team members.
When everyone discarded a card, the cards will be shown. The cards with lower or higher estimations compared to the average will be discussed.
There are a lot of applications which support this estimation technique nowadays. One of them, I have recently used, is “Scrum Do”. “Scrum Do” is a project management tool for agile projects.
With this tool, planning poker is really easy:
1. You just have to click on a certain user story and the planning poker button will be shown. Now you can start a new session for this story. For every other story you can start a session separately, of course.
2. Starting the session notifies all other team members that are currently logged in “Scrum Do”, so they can join.
But only the one who started the session can save the final estimation.
3. Now every team member estimates the story.
4. All the others just see the cards face-down, until the last card has been discarded.
5. After discarding the last card, the result is shown and ready to save.
6. Here you have to pay attention. By clicking the save button, the card of the initiator of the planning poker session will be saved. Of course, he can change the card before saving.
7. After saving the result, the final estimated story points will be shown in the user story.
These applications are for free and do not require any registration.
1. In this example, you see the pointingpoker.com site, where you can start your session for a new planning poker.
You can invite all other team members by sending them an e-mail or the link to your session.
2. Basically, it works the same way “Scrum Do” does. Every member discards a card and the final result is shown when the last card has been discarded. You can see the result of your estimation in the statistics field.
One of the pros is, that it is not necessary to use a certain software. But on the other side, the result of the estimation has to be transferred to another tool.
Besides these web-based applications, there are mobile applications for planning poker as well. In this example you see an application named „Scrum Poker Karten“, which is available on iOS and Android.
As you can see, you can choose between several desks („Standard “, „T-Shirt “, „Fibonacci “). So you can make a rough estimation by using the t-shirt desk, which includes the categories “S “, “M “, “L “and “XL “or you can estimate the story points exactly by using the „Standard “or „Fibonacci “set.