What is Planning Poker?

What is it?

Planning poker is a group estimation tool that is used to help the project team come to agreement on task duration estimates.

When should I use it?

Planning poker is performed during the Spring Planning Session at the beginning of each sprint.

What are the inputs for planning poker?

In order to play planning poker, the team must have the list of features to be delivered and a deck of planning poker playing cards.

What makes planning poker cards unique?

Instead of having values ranging from 2 through Ace, planning poker cards have values that are more conducive to estimating task durations. Typically these values are: 0, ½, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 20, 40, 100. These values correspond to the number of days a feature would take to develop.

Who attends a planning poker session?

Planning poker sessions usually are attended by a moderator, the product owner, and the development team.

What is the process?

  1. The moderator reads the description of the user story/feature the team is estimating. The product owner may provide clarification on the feature.
  2. Each estimator chooses a card from their deck that corresponds with their initial estimate of the development effort. Each estimator places their card upside down on the table so that they do not influence the other estimators.
  3. After all estimates are on the table, the cards are flipped over.
  4. If there is a significant range between estimates, the estimators who submitted the high and low estimates provide rationale on their estimate.
  5. Once the discussion on the range has been conducted, steps 2 through 4 are repeated until a consensus is reached.

What is the main benefit?

Planning poker’s main benefit is that is encourages open discussion about estimates. This helps the team reach a more accurate decision instead of relying on the opinion of one influential team member. It also allows the team to take advantage of the experience of all team members.

Where can I get the cards?

Planning poker cards can be purchased or made from scratch. Below are some links for procuring your own planning poker cards:

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