Scrum Team Estimation Game

Scrum Team Estimation Game workshop is known also under Swimlanes Estimation 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.

Scrum Team Estimation Game
Swimlanes Estimation board.

Rules of the Scrum 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.

Put some previously estimated task into the stack. That will help players calibrate.

What to do if members don’t know how many Story Points they should assign?


As a result of the Scrum Team Estimation Game, we get an estimated package of stories, just like the one in the picture. If the team feels uncertain with some of the estimates, they should groom those stories and later on estimate again.