T-Shirts estimation

T-Shirts estimation it’s all about labeling tasks as pieces of clothing. You probably figured out this method can be also named Pants estimation. I am still wondering why it isn’t… One can confuse it with the Bucket System, but the difference is fundamental. In T-Shirts, we are not going to use numbers.

T-Shirts estimation procedure.

Yet the procedure is as simple as it can be. Gather together and go through all tasks that you would like to estimate. To every single one assign a label from this list: S, M, L, XL.

A good idea is to put all tasks on post-its and paste them on a wall, or if you are using software like JIRA or Trello, create columns that represent sizes. That’s basically it. You get an overview of how big your project is before you even started.

How can you predict the deadline with this tool?

Short answer – you won’t be able to predict a deadline with just this tool, but there is value in such a technique. As it is greatly described in Rani Shah it’s more about visualizing all work that we need to do before getting into details. You can obviously link labels with the time if you wish. However, don’t be very specific. It’s a tool for roughly estimating all ideas you have.

When to use T-Shirts estimating?

For instance – you can ask your support team to assign such a label to every single ticket they create. It’s easy for non-technical people and gives initial value for development teams.

Another example of using T-Shirts estimating is to estimate whole backlog with stakeholders during kick-off.

What to avoid when T-Shirts estimating?

Don’t use too many sizes like XS, SM, XXL, 3XL, etc. It will just bring false precision. This method forces you to look through big glasses. If you need higher precision consider using some more precise estimation techniques like One or too big, Planning Poker, or even Team Estimation Game.