Spend Less Time on Your Estimates

Most teams would rather work to deliver value to customers than spend time estimating stories.  In order to spend less time estimating and more time delivering value to the customer, many teams have adopted “Affinity Estimation”.  Using “Affinity Estimation” many teams have significantly reduced the time required to estimate and I have personally been involved in sessions that used to take 60 minutes and are now taking 15 minutes.  By using “Affinity Estimation” to compare new stories to real stories that were recently completed, teams are able to quickly and confidently provide an estimate without lengthy discussions and worries of the unknown. 

What to Expect

The session will begin with a brief presentation highlighting everyday problems that coaches deal with when estimating stories.  Then, using volunteers from the audience, we will work through a series of exercises/games demonstrating the value of "Affinity Estimation" while teaching the audience and the volunteers how to coach these exercises for their own teams.

All Teams are Not Created Equally

This session will provide you with exercises that you can use for existing teams, as well as, new teams. 

 
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Outline/structure of the Session

  • A presentation on why and how “Affinity Estimation” works. (20 mins)
  • Demonstrations
    • How to coach an existing team to use “Affinity Estimation”.  (25 mins)
      I will demonstrate how to facilitate the exercise that I use to coach existing teams to use “Affinity Estimation”.  The mechanics for the exercise are as follows: Each team will be asked to provide estimates for the same set of “stories”.  Team A will use planning poker, while Team B is temporarily sequestered outside of the room.  When Team A is finished, Team B will be brought back into the room.  Then Team B will be coached on how to do estimation using “Affinity Estimation” with a set of existing "guide post" stories. Team B will them be asked to estimate the same stories as Team A.
    • How to coach a new team to use “Affinity Estimation”. (15 mins)
      In this demonstration we will address the problems that occur when coaching a brand new team to use this method.  Specifically, we will address the fact that a new team won’t yet have any “guide post” stories.  I will demonstrate 2 approaches that coaches can use to deal with this situation.
  • A brief Q&A session to wrap up and help drive home the methods used. (10 mins)
  • 5 min buffer in case of delays or unexpected overrun. 

Learning Outcome

  • The reasons Affinity Estimation works.
  • The reasons Affinity Estimation is better than other estimation methods.
  • Methods to coach Affinity Estimation on new teams. 
  • Methods to coach Affinity Estimation on existing teams.
  • Methods to help teams effectively use Affinity Estimation.
  • Ways to keep teams from wandering into rabbit holes and asking for too much detail when creating estimates. 

Target Audience

Developers, Business Analysts, Quality Engineers, Scrum Masters, Agile Coach, Project Managers, Product Owners

schedule Submitted 2 years ago

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  • James Grenning
    By James Grenning  ~  2 years ago
    reply Reply

    I coach affinity estimation too.  Take a look here: http://www.renaissancesoftware.net/blog/archives/36

    A good topic.  

  • George Dinwiddie
    By George Dinwiddie  ~  2 years ago
    reply Reply

    John, sounds like a nice workshop.

    In your slides, you mention "no estimates." Are you planning to discuss not estimating stories at all?

    Will you discuss time-based estimates (or reference points) vs abstract point-based?

    • John Sextro
      By John Sextro  ~  2 years ago
      reply Reply

      George,

      I don't plan to say much about "no estimates".  I usually just offer it as something for people to think about.

      I won't talk about nor do I ever recommend time-based estimates.  I hope this helps you with your decision making process for the conference.  Please let me know if you have any other questions or follow-up.  Thanks.


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