Task Estimating Techniques12 Jan 2005
I have noticed a couple of common problems when the team meet the business to estimate what they are going to do next:
- There is too much talking and the estimating takes far too long.
- It does not involve the whole team. Some people don't feel confident to participate while others dominate the proceedings.
Here is a little technique that is worth trying if you find yourself in this situation:
- Get someone to read out and quickly explain the task that needs estimating.
- On a count of three (as if playing Rock, Paper, Scissors!), each developer presents a hand showing their estimate with a finger representing a unit of work. If you feel that the task is too big for 5 units of work, simply break the task down and repeat for the smaller tasks.
- We take an average of the team estimates.
The nice thing about this is that it is quick, fun and appears to provides reasonably accurate estimates (probably because it involves everyone).