project planning · collaboration · estimation


If you're using XP style planning, you need to get rapid consensus estimates from developers. Throwing the estimates lets you quickly tell when developers have same similar views on an estimate (so you can note it and move on) or if there is disagreement (when you need to talk about the UserStory in more detail.

Here's the basic sequence. The customer puts together the list of stories that need to estimated. With each story:

You can use different conventions for how many fingers to use. One project I've seen uses 1 or 2 fingers to indicate 1 or 2 NUTs and three fingers to indicate the story is too big and needs splitting up. Another group uses fingers for 1-4 NUTs and five fingers to indicate it's too large. Notice that it's important to have a convention to say that a story has a problem and can't be estimated - most often because it's too big, but also if it can't be tested or there's some other problem.

Teams using this report that they are able to estimate stories at a very rapid rate, avoiding much discussion on stories that are straightforward to estimate and concentrating time on those that are more problematic. This keeps everyone engaged in the estimating process. It also helps that it's fun.

reposted on 26 Jun 2014

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