# Monday, 07 May 2007

We've been estimating a large new project for the last week or so using the "planning poker" technique.  So far I think it's working out very well, although the biggest learning so far has been that you really need a solid task list before you enter this process.  On backlog items where we already had task lists defined, we didn't have any trouble coming to consensus about how long it would take.  This morning we entered into a backlog item without the task list already in place, and it led to an hour-long discussion that delved into design, etc. rather than getting any estimating done.  While I understand that part of the planning poker process is group learning and making sure everyone is on the same page, we would have made a lot more progress with even a tentative task list rather than none at all.

Now we know.

Thursday, 31 May 2007 12:05:11 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
In our use of planning poker for backlog item estimation, when we've had an item that appeared to require a lot of design, sometimes it became a research task, sometimes we broke it down and gave pieces as much as 40 hours. But there is no shortcut to doing good upfront design on very complex or large tasks. It is up to the team to decide whether it is worthwhile trying to estimate a task first or to go back and do some additional research.
Bob Uva
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