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How to optimize Planning Poker as a part of Scrum and some benefits of the Planning Poker process – Part 1

In previous posts (Details about Planning Poker process), I have explained the process of Planning Poker as a part of how to do estimation of tasks during the Sprint Planning process. In this post, I will go further and post some points about how to optimize the Planning Poker process / make it a success, as well as some of the benefits that a team gets from doing their estimation using Planning Poker.
– Even though it is good to get new people on the team for a fresh look, it is essential that there be team members who are experienced in estimation, else the estimates that are generated via Planning Poker could go all over the board, and none of them may be very accurate (this can have its weaknesses in terms of inflated egos, but that can be handled)
– Even though team members are supposed to be self-organizing and empowered and they learn over a period of time, if a person’s estimates remain either grossly over and below the actual efforts even over multiple cycles, then the persons need to be trained in effort estimation
– The tasks / features must be thoroughly explained to the feature team, and they should be able to get any of their queries answered by the product owner
– If a person’s estimates vary greatly from the other team members, then the person should not be scorned, but instead given an opportunity to explain their point of view and the reason for their estimates (without making it a long story)
– The actual process must be followed as follows:
1. Poker cards should be available to all the team members
2. The ScrumMaster details the tasks
3. Team members do their estimation and show their cards
4. If there are wide differences, then people can explain their cards to the rest of the team members
5. Continue this until the estimates converge
6. The ScrumMaster moves onto the next item in the Backlog
7. Continue till enough prioritized tasks are detailed for the current Sprint cycle

Benefits of the Planning Poker in the next cycle ..

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