Estimations are always difficult and only experience may help you provide proper ones. During sprint plannings user stories are estimated according to its difficulty or expected effort. A good technique to estimate a story is by comparing it to another one that you did previously. If it’s more difficult, you add points. If it’s less difficult, you add more points because it’s likely something bad happens and you obviously want to prevent yourself 🙂
In Scrum we use planning poker, which is a technique for estimating where the team plays numbered cards instead of speaking them out-loud. This way everyone estimates at the same time and the highest and lowest estimations might discuss their reasons of choosing that number. Planning poker improves consensus along the team and gives a great opportunity to understand different viewpoints of the same story.
Common estimating methods include numeric sizing (1 through 10 or Fibonacci’s sequence) but also more abstrac methods. One of my favourites is estimating using t-shirt sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL, or dogs: Chihuahua to Great Dane. The important thing is sharing the understanding of the scale the team is using and being able to determine velocity after every sprint. Perhaps a team generates 63 points every sprint, or 4 chihuahuas, 5 beagles and 2 great danes. In the end, it’s the same.
Did you know these methods? Which one are you using?
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