Estimation or Planning Poker is a fine and well-known tool used to estimate both the size of work and the business value of Product Backlog Items. An important side effect (if not the main effect) is that it provokes and facilitates people to cough up what they know and reach a reasonable common understanding. we have written an article about this here…

Our Agile Cards are out in version 3.0, including the popular Estimation Poker. In this edition, there are several series of cards, so they can be used to estimate cost value, complexity and confidence. The series are:

  • Estimation/Planning Poker. This is the classic version popularized by Mike Cohn. The cards are used to estimate quantifiable numeric properties, such af expected effort or business value. Some of the cards have a special meaning: “0” means that this item is so small that we can’t be bothered about it during planning, we just include it, when we operate in that corner of the work. The Coffee Cup is a signal about taking a break, “I can’t do it anymore!“. The Question Mark really shouldn’t be used, only if someone says: “I have no clue what you strange people are talking about!“. See here…
  • T-shirt Estimation. This is for the situations, where the number series in Estimation Poker, seems to be too detailed or where there is not enough time for this level of detail. Some Teams use T-shirt estimation early in a project where knowledge still is scarce and fragmented. It is normal praxis to let Small, Medium og Large respectively correspond to 2, 5 and 13. See here…
  • Kano Estimation. is used if a Team adopts marketing guru professor Kano’s principle of categorizing features and qualities, read more here… or here… Kano differentiates between the following categories of features or qualities:
    • Too Small. This feature is simply too small for a user or customer to assign an independent value. It only has value seen as a part of a larger whole. Like a single brick of lego, that only has value as part of the set.

    • Too Big. This feature is out of range with the rest, it must be broken down and decomposed before the user can assess the value.

    • Reverse. This feature is simply considered annoying for the users, and should of course not be implemented. We often see huge costs in product development concerning stuff that in reality harms the users.

    • Exciter. This feature will make the users say “Wow, can jo do that as well?”, so something he would not expect or perhaps even articulate.

    • Must Have. The user will not accept the product without this feature or quality, like a hotel room without a bed or hot water. It is of utmost importance to discover Must Have features, as the user often will not express these unsolicited, he expects everybody to understand that he needs this.

    • The numbers in Estimation Poker are then used for the last two categories that Kano operates with Indifferent and Satisfier. “0” is used to signal “indifference”, the user doesn’t care, “whatever!“. The rest of the numbers are used to express the degree of satisfaction or value a user assigns to a certain feature. Maybe he is twice as satisfied with free parking at a hotel as he is with free breakfast?. These are Satisfiers, the user can quantify satisfaction or value, Must Have features just need to be there, Reverse just need NOT to be there, and Exciters are new and thrilling but hard to compare to other things. See here…

  • Cynefin Estimation. These cards are used to get people’s evalutation of the type of knowledge they think they possess about an item. They can for example be used to query a Team about what they know about the solution of a certain item. The principle is defined by Dave Snowden and is called Cynefin, It is a way to evaluate our cognitive relation to an item: Do we already know how things work and should be solved, DO we know where to find knowledge (research, analysis), or do we have certain experiments, that can be performed to find knowledge. Or perhaps we are lost and clueless and have to rely on gut feeling and intuition. Read our article here… Se here…
  • Confidence Estimation. This series of cards uses a technique from Daniel Kahneman. When a given discussion approaches its end, then ask the group or Teamet to express their opinion about how sure they are that they have reached a reasonable common understanding concerning the topic discussed. Quite often someone, who perhaps felt he did not really get to express his concerns, will here have the opportunity to signal that he is not quite comfortable with the situation. Sometimes this can catch one of those outliers where risks or dangers were ignored in the heat of the moment. See here…

 

The set can be bought in our AgileLeanShop either as a single deck or 10 decks. Go to the webshop here…

 

You can also read more about our newest tool, an online version of Agile Cards – Cool Estimation.