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How to optimize Planning Poker as a part of Scrum and some benefits of the Planning Poker process – Part 2

In the previous post (Optimizing Planning Poker), I explained some points about how to make sure that your Planning Poker exercise was well executed, and estimates generated were good.
In this post, there will be a focus on defining the benefits of Planning Poker, and why you should use that as a way of estimating the effort required for the tasks for every Sprint cycle. Here are some of the benefits:
– Planning Poker results in an open discussion (rather than the normal way of estimation, where a lead or manager asks a few lead developers to do the estimation of features based on many different models of estimation); such a process ensures that team members are able to come out with their own considered estimates, and discuss the reasons as to why they have such estimates
– Planning Poker cards are based on the Fibonnaci sequence, and use the following numbers for estimation (0, ½, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 20, 40, 100)
– The Planning Poker process ensures that the team whole team is involved, and is a part of the overall Scrum process of making the team feel empowered and responsible for the features / tasks; and getting the team feel responsible for ensuring the success of a project based on a Scrum development process is a great way to get started
– With the process such that the team listens to the story / feature, considers and then make their decisions about estimates; but the fact is that the team members don’t open their cards until all of them have made their estimates – which ensures that the team members don’t feel influenced by the estimates of a senior member (which is why it is also critical that the team members make their estimates and only then the estimates are revealed)
– Because you have multiple people looking at the same task, it is possible that one of them may have found an easier or faster way to do the task that others have not found it. In the Planning Poker process, it is easier to ensure that people get a chance to make their views known (however, this can only happen when the Planning Poke process is done properly, instead of just taking an average of the estimates – this is done by teams in a hurry to complete the estimation process)
– Planning Poker is a very simple exercise, especially when you do it with actual cards, and once the team gets over the uniqueness of playing cards, they can actually start enjoying the exercise and the right to be able to provide their own estimates

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