We do both - make plans and play poker

19.11.2014

"To choose time is to save time".

This week our students received valuable training in efficient time management. But in this round they trained in a very unorthodox way: though playing poker!

Planning Poker – is a consensus-based technique for evaluation, mostly used to estimate the effort or relative size of the development goals in software development. The method was first defined and named by James Grenning, co-author of the famous Agile-manifest, in 2002. Planning Poker became an indispensable planning tool in agile development. 

Tatyana Bulanaya, Head of the Noosphere Engineering School, describes this method in more detail:

“Using Planning Poker we estimate the time required to solve each task. The Planning Poker rules are quite simple:

1. Each participant is given a set of numbered cards. Usually they contain Fibonacci numbers: 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89. A Fibonacci sequence is simply the set of numbers that results when each subsequent number is equal to the sum of two previous ones.

2. A task is read and the team briefly discusses the details for clarification.

3. Each individual then lays a card face down with their estimate on how long it would take to complete.

4. Everyone reveals their cards simultaneously by turning them over.

5. If there is a large discrepancy between the estimates they discuss the reasons for the disparity.

6. They then repeat the estimation process until a consensus is reached.

The longer an estimate is the higher the risk that it will not be competed.  For example, if we estimate that it will take 4 hours, we might put a bigger number, maybe 5 hours. If we estimate that it will take 9 or 10 hours then we can put down a 13. The more time we estimate it will take to complete a task, the more risky it becomes, which is why it is better to avoid planning 40-hour tasks.

If someone plays the "get a drink coffee” card, then they all take a break. If a question mark appears it means that the participant is confused and isn't sure what is going on.

Planning Poker – is a simple but effective method to estimate set tasks. Many companies all over the world are successfully using it, including Noosphere. We hope that this information helps you more easily implement your projects as well!

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