Planning Poker Best Practices

Planning Poker best practices


Planning Poker is a popular and effective technique used in Scrum for estimating the effort required to complete a task or project. It is an agile estimation and planning technique that involves a group of team members collectively estimating the effort required to complete a task. In Planning Poker, each team member uses a deck of cards to vote on the estimation. It is a fun, interactive way to estimate and prioritize backlog items. In this article, we will discuss the best practices for conducting Planning Poker sessions.

1. Define the Product Backlog Items

The first step in conducting Planning Poker is to define the product backlog items (PBIs). The PBIs should be clear and concise, and all team members should understand them. It is important to have a well-defined backlog to ensure that the estimates are accurate. The backlog items should be broken down into small, manageable tasks that can be easily estimated.

2. Involve the Entire Team

The entire team should be involved in Planning Poker. This includes the product owner, scrum master, and development team members. Each team member should have an equal say in the estimation process, and their opinions should be respected. The involvement of the entire team ensures that the estimates are accurate and everyone is on the same page.

3. Use Fibonacci Sequence

The Fibonacci sequence is a series of numbers where each number is the sum of the two preceding ones. The sequence goes as follows: 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, and so on. In Planning Poker, the Fibonacci sequence is used to assign points to the backlog items. This helps to avoid the team members from giving estimates that are too precise. It is easier to estimate in relative terms, and the Fibonacci sequence helps to achieve that.

4. Set the Baseline

To set the baseline, the team should agree on a PBI that is considered a “medium” level of complexity. This is called a reference point, and it is used to establish a baseline for the other backlog items. The baseline should be agreed upon by the entire team and should be used as a reference point for all other estimates.

5. Limit Discussion Time

In Planning Poker, it is important to limit the discussion time. The team should be given a set amount of time to discuss each backlog item and come up with an estimate. If the discussion goes on for too long, it can lead to analysis paralysis and delay the estimation process. The time limit ensures that the team stays focused and on track.

6. Encourage Participation

Encouraging participation is important in Planning Poker. Every team member should have an equal say in the estimation process. It is important to create a safe and welcoming environment where team members feel comfortable sharing their opinions. Encouraging participation leads to more accurate estimates and fosters a sense of collaboration and teamwork.

7. Avoid Groupthink

Groupthink is a phenomenon where a group of people tends to conform to the opinions of the majority. In Planning Poker, it is important to avoid groupthink to ensure that the estimates are accurate. Team members should be encouraged to share their opinions, even if they are different from the majority. This leads to more accurate estimates and better decision-making.

8. Re-estimate Regularly

Re-estimating regularly is important to ensure that the estimates are accurate. As the team progresses through the project, they may gain a better understanding of the work involved. This may lead to changes in the estimates. Re-estimating regularly helps to ensure that the estimates are up-to-date and accurate.

9. Use a Moderator

Using a moderator is helpful in Planning Poker. The moderator ensures that the discussion stays on track and that the time limits are respected. The moderator should be someone who is impartial and has no stake in the outcome.


Planning Poker is an agile estimation technique used in Scrum to estimate project effort. To conduct effective sessions, involve the whole team, use the Fibonacci sequence, set a baseline, limit discussion time, encourage participation, avoid groupthink, re-estimate regularly, and use a moderator. These best practices ensure accuracy, better decision-making, and teamwork.

Try out the best practices for Planning Poker with AgileBox here: Agile Planning Poker, Retrospectives, Daily Standup for Jira

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