Andy Pols CTO, Entrepreneur

Task Estimating Techniques

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).

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