Planning Poker is designed to combine what individual team members know into a collective team understanding about the effort to deliver the planned product backlog. It provokes constructive discussions and enables even the quietest team member to speak up and suggest proposals.
A story point is a relative measure that allows comparison of the size and complexity of work to finish a particular piece of product backlog – the user story.
The team defines a baseline story to serve for comparison. A good baseline story is relatively small and understandable to all team members. Best is if all members know exactly what it takes to complete the work for that story delivery according to the Definition of Done criteria.
How to play the estimation game:
- Product Owner explains one user story.
- Each team member assesses the work and complexity of this story compared to the baseline story and identifies the appropriate card that reflects how much more effort it takes to do the work for this story as compared to the baseline story.
- All team members simultaneously show the numbers and the facilitator of the estimation game asks the person with the smallest number, the person with the largest, and one in between to explain what they took into consideration in this comparison and why they sized the story accordingly.
- The team votes again until they get a consensus on the implementation effort, thus defining the estimation for the story.