Team Estimation Game

Team Estimation Game is both an estimation technique and a workshop. It is known also under the Swimlanes Estimation name because of how cards look on the table after finishing the game. This very powerful technique is approximately 3 times faster than Planning Poker and has the same accuracy.

During this game, the team will arrange the PBI cards in such a way, that the smallest size items will end on the left and the largest items will end on the right. If the team considers two tasks being the same size they can place them one below another.

Rules of the Team Estimation Game.

  1. Start with a stack of ranked story cards (highest ranked on top). You can print them directly from JIRA. If you don’t have enough time to rank them before estimating – just shuffle them and you are good to go.
  2. Team members take turns estimating one after another.
  3. On each turn, the player has two options, as shown below. With both options, the player needs to explain to the team the reasons for his estimate. The player can do one:
    • Take the top story card off the stack and place it on the table based on how big it is in his opinion.
    • Move a previously placed card to a new location if you think it should be estimated differently
  4. During a player’s turn, other team members may speak only to ask clarifying questions; they must not express their own opinions during another player’s turn.
  5. After the last story card has been estimated, each player may take one more turn to move a card if he/she wants to.

After finishing the last round team collaboratively assign numerical estimations to column (swimlanes) of cards. If members don’t know how many Story Points they should assign to a column I suggest you put some previously estimated tasks into the stack. That will help players calibrate.

Scrum Team Estimation Game
As a result of the Team Estimation Game, we get an estimated package of stories, just like the one in the picture.

When to use a Team estimation game?

The only requirement for the Team Estimation Game is that your team should use the Fibonnaci sequence. Otherwise, you will have problems with assigning correct values to columns