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understand Scrum estimation techniques in no time

Understand Scrum estimation techniques in no time

Oct, 09th 18

We are aware of the fact that estimating products using the scrum techniques is relatively different from the same using traditional methods. While the traditional methods adopt ‘bottom-up’ technique for estimation, Scrum takes up the ‘top-down’ approach. In the traditional method, things are taken up from scratch.


Gathering information, focusing on smallest of the details and collecting relevant data/resources to enhance the idea are some of the steps that are taken up in building the desired product using the traditional method. However, in the scrum estimation, opposite of this is done. Instead of starting from the lowest parts to build a final product, the technique requires one to choose a goal first. Once the desired product is planned, it is broken down to pieces and tasks required to attain the product are finalized. To know in detail about the techniques used in scrum technology, read on!


Here’s a list of agile estimation techniques based on the necessity and circumstances,

Planning Poker:


Planning poker is certainly the most adopted technique for estimation and uses Fibonacci series as a basis. The Fibonacci series involves adding up of two preceding numbers in order to get the third one and goes something like this 0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,20,40,100…..


However, a slight change in the order of numbers is made while using it for the estimation. Cards with 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 20, 40, 100 numbers on them are laid and each set is distributed among the team members. The head/owner of the company offering a product or service is then allowed to showcase the product; the estimate of which is then decided by the members. In this process, the product owner doesn’t have a say in estimate’s decision making. The owner doesn’t get cards in the procedure. The team members then pick out a card representing the estimate and present it to the team. This continues until the team reaches a common value and a conclusion is drawn. The estimate is decided by taking into account the opinions of all the teammates and by conducting discussions. To avoid the procedure from getting lengthy, a time limit is allocated considering which the team members make their estimates.


The Bucket System:


Beneficial for making estimates for a large number of products (up to 500), the bucket system is the most collaborative method of estimation. It gives fast results although rough estimates only. The products are placed on a scale showcasing the estimated value and dropped in the bucket with similar products. It requires individuals to quietly put forward their estimates without discussing with others, however, in case of confusion and lack of clarity, one can pass on the product to others. In case of several products in a single bucket, the team makes an estimate by discussing collectively and comes to a consensus. It follows the ‘divide and rule’ method to make estimates.


Dot Voting:


One of the simplest ways of estimating small group of products is dot voting. It assigns dots to the members which are then used by them to estimate the size of the products. Higher the number of dots, bigger is the product.


Affinity Mapping:


Affinity mapping is one of the easiest ways of making an estimate for a large number of products. For instance, if one has a large set of products that need to be estimated, grouping them with similar sized or quality products helps. By doing this, one can make an estimate more quickly. Grouping is done by using one product as a basis and comparing the rest with it. If the second product is larger than the one it is being compared to, it is set to the right. Likewise, if it is smaller than the first one, it goes to the left side. In this way, products are segregated and then grouped with similar products. It helps make the estimation process easier and less time-consuming.

Estimation units – T-shirt sizes:


Another productive yet fun way of making estimations is using the T-shirt sizes. In this, the standard T-shirt sizes - XS (extra small), S (small), M (medium), L (Large), and XL (Extra Large) are used as parameters for making an estimate for a product. Team members make their estimates and decide which category a product falls into. However, this is not time-restrained and allows a member to make a detailed estimate; which can be both a positive and negative trait based on the situation.


All in all, these are one of the simplest, most effective and fun ways of making estimates for products. Alongside this, these methods can be used in several other scenarios where decision-making is required. These techniques encourage teamwork and collaborations among the employees while giving out effective results in a short span of time.


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