Have you ever found yourself saying, “Estimating is HARD”, “These estimates are WAY off”, or “Who estimated THIS??!?” These reactions are all too common. Ever wonder why?

This workshop will take you on a journey through your brain where you will discover some of the cognitive biases that behavioral psychologists have found to affect our ability to estimate. We will look at 3 different estimation techniques and examine the factors that make each more/less successful. Practice sessions will highlight pitfalls you need to be aware of in your next estimating session.

Come prepared to have fun participating in revealing interactive exercises. Learn practical techniques for effective estimating that will help you choose the best approach for your team/project.

1 favorite thumb_down thumb_up 0 comments visibility_off  Remove from Watchlist visibility  Add to Watchlist

Outline/structure of the Session

0-10: Introduction: Some of the difficulties of estimating and an overview of cognitive terms like Biases/Heuristics/Fallacies/Illusions

10-25 Absolute Estimating: Putting a number on it.

How much will it cost? How long will it take? How big/far/complex is it? Exercise – guess the gumballs in the jar. Exploration of Planning Fallacy, Framing Effects, Confirmation Bias. Cautions about using absolute units.

25-40 Relative Estimating: Taking a timeout – or taking the time out.

Why story points and what they are? How to relative size. Exercise – Paint the Room. Using Scale, Fibonacci, and Planning Poker. Exploration of Anchoring, Group Think, Halo Effect. Cautions about using story points.

40-55 Flow-based Estimating: Go with the flow

#noEstimates, lean, and wasted effort: A brief introduction to Little’s law. How to read a cumulative flow diagram. Exercise - Prevent the Traffic Jam. Does avoiding estimates fool the brain? What cognitive biases lay lurking in the dark? Cautions about using flow.

55-60 Conclusion: Wrap up and a (very) few questions.

Learning Outcome

Learn how the natural function of our brains can often prevent us from estimating well. Discover what to look for in your estimating sessions, how to overcome limitations, and how to choose the best methods for your purpose.

Target Audience

Product Owners, Scrum Masters, Team Members and anyone who has to give or read an estimate.


No prerequisites are needed, but you will be well prepared if you've felt the pain of long, ineffectual estimating meetings that usually produce inaccurate estimates.

schedule Submitted 1 month ago

Comments Subscribe to Comments

comment Comment on this Proposal