Since starting SalesLoft, I’ve had the enjoyment of learning agile development. Agile for us means we run weekly or bi-weekly sprint sessions forecasting and planning our development efforts along with daily 10 minute scrum meetings.
Just last week, we adopted a method of sprint planning called agile poker (wiki page). Agile poker is a consensus-based technique for estimating development productivity. I had a blast during our first session. Here’s how it works:
- The product owner fills out the backlog with user stories, prioritizing each one.
- The development team gets a deck of playing cards numbered by the fibbonaci sequence (1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, etc). These numbers represent allotments of time allocation for the sprint.
- The product manager provides a short overview of the first story. The team then determines who is going to manage the project and discusses the details.
- Next, each individual lays a card face down with the number of allocation units they think necessary to complete the story.
- Everyone turns over their cards and the team comes to consensus on a number.
- We attach that number to the user story and repeat until everyone’s sprint allotments are full.
This is a great method for running dev sprints because the time allocation is crowd-sourced and avoids influence of others, forcing people to think independently. Using this method provides checks and balances to the dev sprint and ensures a better estimate for the time it takes to get product built.
Have any of you tried planning poker? What did you like/not like about it?