Best Practices for Running a Planning Poker Session in Jira

Planning Poker in Jira - Best Practices

Planning Poker and Jira

What is planning poker?

Planning poker is a consensus-based, gamified technique for estimating, mostly used for timeboxing in Agile principles. In planning poker, members of the group make estimates by playing numbered cards face-down to the table, instead of speaking them aloud. The goal is to reach a consensus on the estimated effort required to complete a task.

Planning poker is a fun and collaborative way to improve planning and estimation for agile teams. It encourages lively discussion, reduces bias and uncertainty, and promotes team alignment and commitment.

Why planning poker and Jira are a good combination? 

Planning Poker and Jira are a good combination because they both support agile software development and help teams collaborate and deliver value faster. Here are the reasons: 

  • Estimate work in a fun and interactive way. They allow teams to estimate their work in a fun and interactive way, using the Jira backlog as the source of truth for the project requirements.
  • Integrate seamlessly. Teams can easily select issues, invite participants, view and edit issue details, and save their estimates to the Jira fields without leaving the planning poker session.
  • Various estimation methods. They provide different estimation methods, such as story points, T-shirts, or custom values, to suit the needs and preferences of different teams and projects.
  • Improve transparency and accountability. By using Jira, teams can track the progress of the work and identify any risks. This can help to improve transparency and accountability within the team.

How does planning poker work in Jira?

Planning poker works in Jira by using an app that integrates with the Jira platform and allows teams to estimate their work in a fun and interactive way. Different apps offer planning poker functionality for Jira, and for us, AgileBox is one of the best.

What is Planning Poker in Jira

The planning poker for Jira feature of AgileBox is a powerful and fun way to improve planning and estimation ceremonies for remote teams. It allows teams to import issues from Jira, invite participants, customize their estimation scale and cards, play agile poker, discuss the results, and update Jira issues.

Learn more about AgileBox here: Agile Planning Poker, Retrospectives, Daily Standup for Jira

Best Practices

Here are some of the best practices for planning poker for Jira:

Prepare user stories in advance

Prepare the user stories or tasks in advance and make sure they are clear, concise, and testable.

Involve all team members

Invite all the relevant team members to participate in the planning poker session, such as developers, testers, designers, and analysts. The product owner or Scrum Master should act as the moderator and facilitator of the session.

Use a consistent set of estimates

Use a deck of cards with predefined numerical values, usually based on the Fibonacci sequence or a modified version. You can also use T-shirt sizes or custom values as your estimation units.

Encourage team members to discuss their estimates

Present one user story or task at a time and allow the team to discuss its requirements, complexities, and possible challenges. The moderator should answer any questions and clarify any ambiguities.

Set clear expectations for the planning poker session

The facilitator should set clear expectations for the planning poker session, such as the time limit, the rules for discussion, and the way that estimates will be recorded.

Be flexible and willing to adjust the estimates as needed.

If there is a significant difference in estimates, ask the team members with the highest and lowest estimates to explain their reasoning. Then, have a constructive discussion to reach a consensus on the estimate.

Follow up after the planning poker session to make sure the estimates are being used effectively

The facilitator should follow up after the planning poker session to make sure that the estimates are being used effectively. This can be done by reviewing the estimates with the team and making sure that they are being used to plan and track the work.

Use a planning poker plugin for Jira

There are some planning poker plugins available for Jira that can make it easier to run planning poker sessions. These plugins typically provide a digital interface for team members to submit their estimates and for the facilitator to reveal the estimates and lead the discussion.

AgileBox - Agile Planning Poker, Retrospectives, Daily Standup for Jira

Try AgileBox: Agile Planning Poker, Retrospectives, Daily Standup for Jira

10 Tips for Scrum Poker in Jira

Whether you are seeking to optimize your Planning Poker game or avoid potential problems, follow along with this guide to learn the top 10 tips.

Know Your Objectives 

To ensure successful rounds and obtain as precise estimations as possible, it is important to remind yourself and your team members why you are playing.

Maintain Measures

No matter which you choose, it is crucial to maintain consistency with the measure and ensure your team members are as well.

Encourage Individual Voices 

There is always room for individuals to ask questions, clarify statements, or ask for more information

Avoid Groupthink

Groupthink happens when individuals passively agree with the strongest opinions in the group, rather than engaging in conflict or dealing with confrontation.

Play With Small Numbers 

Sequences are easier because they allow for more efficient voting and faster consensus.

Provide Breaks 

Provide breaks when possible, simply so individuals can refresh themselves and engage properly in the process.

Invite the Right People 

Many management roles reduce the number of people involved in Planning Poker to streamline the process.

Don’t Vote 

Product managers, product owners, and key stakeholders should not be allowed to vote.

Avoid Point Value Creep 

Point value creep is a strange phenomenon that occurs as time goes on in Planning Poker; estimates will grow larger over time while maintaining the same scope of work.

Limit Discussions

Set appropriate limits for discussion periods especially if you are entering into 2 or 3 rounds of Planning Poker on the same story or tasks.

If you want to discover more about these tips, please visit: Top 10 Scrum Planning Poker Tips – DevSamurai

Key Takeaways

Planning Poker is a collaborative and gamified technique used in Agile for estimating effort or complexity in a consensus-based manner. It involves team members playing estimation cards face-down to reach a consensus on task complexity.

Why Planning Poker and Jira? They complement each other by allowing fun and interactive estimation, seamless integration, various estimation methods, improved transparency, and tracking of work progress.

Best Practices for Planning Poker in Jira:

  • Prepare clear user stories in advance.
  • Involve all relevant team members, with a facilitator moderating.
  • Use a consistent set of estimates (e.g., Fibonacci sequence).
  • Encourage discussion and clarification of requirements.
  • Set clear expectations and rules for the session.
  • Be flexible and open to adjusting estimates.
  • Follow up to ensure effective use of estimates.
  • Consider using a planning poker plugin for Jira.

These practices and tips can help teams optimize their estimation processes, improve collaboration, and enhance Agile project management using Planning Poker and Jira.

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