Estimation is a loaded and complicated topic. Whether talking about hours, playing planning poker, or aiming for one of many interpretations of #NoEstimates, you need to understand the role of estimation in your practice. Even if your organization is open to a different conversation about dates, regulatory constraints, markets, and events can impose unavoidable demands for forecasting.

Even if you're comfortable with your current estimation practices, do you know they're effective? Are they the right practice for your situation? Can you improve on them? Do you even know your alternatives?

This workshop will cover a variety of approaches to forecasting and reporting progress based on opinions and empirical data, from story points, t-shirt sizes, or hours, days, weeks, or months to cycle time and probability assessments. We will discuss various techniques for forecasting and for knowing which techniques to use under which circumstances.


Outline/Structure of the Tutorial

Morning: Opinion-based Estimation

  • Estimation Overview
  • Absolute Opinions
  • Relative Opinions
  • Story Points
  • Consensus-based Estimation
  • Story Point Velocity
  • Team Strength
  • Visualization
  • Other Opinions
  • Confidence Factors


Empirical Estimation

  • Cycle Time
  • Queuing Theory
  • Velocity
  • Statistics
  • Drawing Conclusions
  • Cycle Time Forecasting
  • Bayesian Inference
  • Monte Carlo Simulation
  • Subjectivity in Estimation

Learning Outcome

Attendees will come away with

  • An understanding of the difference between opionions, measurements, models, and forecasts
  • A survey of techniques for estimation and the strengths and weaknesses of each
  • How to use cycle time data from the team's actual performance to get equal or better forecasts
  • A tactile understanding of statistical methods based on dice games
  • Spreadsheet-based tools for team strength calculation and Monte Carlo-based forecasting

Target Audience

Agile practitioners looking for a deeper understanding of their current techniques and for acquisition of new techniques for estimation and forecasting.


schedule Submitted 4 years ago