Agile Estimation Techniques in 2020

By Nandini

Last updated on Sep 9 2018

Agile Estimation Techniques in 2020

Best Agile Estimation Techniques in 2020 


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


Gathering information, focusing on the 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 agile estimation techniques, the opposite of this is done.


Instead of starting from the lowest parts to build a final product, the agile estimation technique requires one to choose a goal first. Once the desired product is planned, it is broken down into pieces, and tasks required to attain the product are finalized.


To know in detail about the Agile Estimation Techniques used in scrum technology, continue to read.


List of Agile Estimation Techniques


Planning Poker Method


Planning poker is certainly the most adopted agile technique for estimation and uses the 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 in this agile estimation technique 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 agile estimation technique. 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 the case of several products in a single bucket, the team makes an estimate by discussing it collectively and comes to a consensus. It follows the ‘divide and rule’ method to make estimates.


Dot Voting


One of the simplest agile estimation technique for estimating a 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, the bigger is the product.


Affinity Mapping


Affinity mapping is one of the easiest agile estimation techniques for 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 agile estimation technique of making estimations is using 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 agile estimation techniques for 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.


To learn more about agile management concepts and scrum techniques, you can take up agile and scrum training.


For professionals in field of agile and scrum, here are some certification training courses.


PMI ACP - Agile Certified Practitioner 

CSM - Certified Scrum Master

CSPO - Certified Scrum Product Owner



To get full details about these certification training programs, chat with our course expert

About the Author

Sprintzeal   Nandini

Content Writer at Sprintzeal

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