Chapter 5 – Establishing Estimates

Like it or not, the need to provide estimates for software projects isn’t going to disap- pear. Thankfully, the typical estimation burden that afflicts many teams can become significantly reduced should they choose to adopt the de facto standard for estimating Scrum projects: relative estimation.

The following three shortcuts introduce you to the concept of relative estimation and provide guidance on how to transition from traditional time-based estimation.

Shortcut 13: Relating to Estimating introduces the elegance of the relative estimation approach. Shortcut 14: Planning Poker at Pace provides a range of tips and tricks to ensure efficient Planning Poker sessions. Finally, Shortcut 15: Transitioning Relatively offers advice to assist teams in transitioning from time-based estimation to relative estimation.

Shortcut 13: Relating to Estimating

  • Estimation Pain
  • Why Bother Estimating?
  • Explaining Relative Estimation
  • Software Relative Estimation
  • Velocity 68 Relative Estimation in Practice

Shortcut 14: Planning Poker at Pace

  • Setting Up the Game
  • Planning Poker Mechanics
  • When to Play Planning Poker
  • Get the Team Warmed Up
  • Big Cards for Big Occasions
  • Don’t Double Up
  • Reaching a Consensus
  • Phones Can Help
  • It’s All about Benefits
  • Remember Parkinson’s Law

Shortcut 15: Transitioning Relatively

  • An Approach
  • Using Historical Work
  • Creating the Mappings
  • Keep Up Your Recycling

Wrap Up

The three shortcuts included in this chapter focus on a selection of tactics, tools, and tips to help your team understand and transition to the world of relative estimation. Here’s a recap of what is covered:

Shortcut 13: Relating to Estimating

  • Fundamental reasons for estimating requirements
  • An explanation of relative estimation using some easy-to-understand metaphors
  • Factors that influence a meaningful velocity

Shortcut 14: Planning Poker at Pace

  • The mechanics of a Planning Poker session
  • Tips to ensure that the team is warmed up and ready to launch into a game of Planning Poker
  • Additional spinoff benefits that Planning Poker offers

Shortcut 15: Transitioning Relatively


  • The benefits of using historical work to calibrate some initial reference points
  • How to create mappings between legacy requirements and story points
  • The process of generating a broad selection of meaningful reference points for future estimation sessions

Want to learn more? See the full table of contents