After launching my first application onto the market back in March 2011, and amassing somewhere in the region of 15,000 downloads since it’s launch, I was eager to produce another.
I offered up my services at my work to develop an application to “test the water”, teaming up with the marketing director we created a simple yet useful application for agile project managers; planning poker decks.
The concept is simple, when an agile team is in an estimation phase, they assess each task and try to estimate how much effort would be involved to complete that task. There are many different approaches to how the estimation can take place, such as grouping tasks into small/medium/large, or even a simple show of hands voting system. Another method is with the use of planning poker cards.
We decided to keep it simple and offer 3 types of estimation, or 3 decks of card in this application; standard, fibonacci, and hours deck, with the following cards :
In addition to the numbers above, each deck has the following special cards :
- ? – Played when you genuinely have no idea how long it would take
- Infinity symbol – Played when you believe the task would take forever, or at least longer than is feasible
- Coffee mug – Played when you’ve just had enough, and need a timeout
The idea is that when estimating tasks, the users would all select the appropriate card, and on call display their selection to the rest of the team. This rules out any obvious biased choices as the users would all select their own cards, and display at the same time ruling out any options for copying the developer next to you.
The idea is to stimulate discussion and justification of the estimates, so if you estimate a task would be 5 days, but Dalibor estimates it’s only a few hours, it opens up a debate and can rule out any obvious misunderstandings or misconceptions about the task itself, or how it could be achieved, eventually resulting in more accurate estimates.
If you’re interested in web services, systems integration and other such enterprise technologies, be sure to check out our blog, also have a look at my write up from DroidCon UK 2011, plenty of android goodness lies within.