Showing posts from November, 2008

What a difference a sand timer makes....!

Planning Games can be a problem. Especially with large teams where it is difficult to get consensus, and also far too easy to descend into lengthy discussions where different people are in fact violently agreeing with each other (at least in terms of what size something is). What should be a simple one hour maximum meeting to scope out the relative sizing of specific business stories can turn into a Dilbert-esque four hour meeting from hell. Classic Planning Poker rules suggest using a timer to try and avoid these kinds of situations. Anyone can start a two minute timer, and at the end of the time the team must estimate. Limiting the amount of time gives a degree of pressure and focus to the discussions especially when there is disagreement. Also it limits otherwise lengthy discussions where in fact everyone now agrees on the estimate. I the past I have tried using this technique with some teams that had a tendency to get bogged down but with limited success. I have tried using a mobil