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Planning Poker as a method of cost estimation

Planungspoker - Aufwandsschätzung im agilen Projektmanagement

If „half the battle is well appreciated“, then the expenses in project management should be made of good reasons are always possible precisely estimated. Because as central calculation basis is the cost estimate information on the anticipated project costs and thus ultimately on the economic viability of a project. If so – such as the development of innovative products or the use of new production – no based on experience, be reliable indicators of the time, capacity- and resource planning, rises and falls of the economic success of a project with the accuracy of the cost estimate.

There are a whole host of best practices and procedures , will not be discussed here. Instead, we focus on a particular very popular in agile project management method of cost estimation based on a playful way leads to amazingly good results: the so-called planning poker. The prerequisite is that individual tasks or work packages in isolation (as in Scrum) and can be evaluated.

Planning Poker is not gambling

Brief digression: If one understands poker as a pure gambling (which it is not certainly), so the term „planning poker“ at this point, of course a bit misleading … Clear should be, therefore, that will leave nothing to chance, of course, in this process of cost estimation in project management , Rather, the effort will be here by means of a aimed at consensus, gradual convergence process at realistic values determined.

The advantage over other conventional project management methods is, inter alia, that Planning Poker human playfulness activated and can make quite a lot of fun. Is correspondingly high so that the motivation of those involved.

Game play on the example Scrum

Planning Poker is played with a hidden agenda. In addition, all members of the development team a set of estimation maps with increasing numerical values. For example, 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 20, 40 etc. The series of numbers is ajar rule on the so-called Fibonacci sequence. After that, the „director“ (ideally the product owner) to be estimated prior to work packages, and the „players“ in each place a card with an estimation of its opinion, the expense corresponding numerical value face-down on the table. Then all cards are revealed, and the two players with the lowest or highest card explaining their decision. This means that all have the opportunity to present their own estimates to reconsider, among themselves to discuss and possibly in another round to revise. The game is played until the team has come to an agreement either or all the numbers are within a tolerance previously agreed to therefrom to calculate an average. The determined number then flows as an expense estimate in a further planning or costing.

It is important in any case, that time limits for explanations and discussions are placed so that the team in planning poker not go into details „verrennt“.

Experience has shown that planning poker (agile) project management with time always more accurate results that the actual mapping effort end up getting more accurate. In short, practice makes perfect.

When planning poker itself, we can not support – but no later than in managing your determined key figures then come back our software for project and time management into play.