The beginning of a Scrum Project:

The Product Backlog already contains some stories.

It is time to begin the Sprint. But we still must estimate the stories planned for the first Sprint. How should these stories be estimated?

This is the scale we use to estimate out projects:

First tips:

1st – We use the Planning Poker to estimate the Stories. They contain cards with the following values: 0, ½, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 20, 40, 100,?

2nd – We take out the cards 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 20, 40 and 100 and use those to estimate Stories. That is, we do not use the 0, 1 and ½ cards in the beginning of the Story . Why? It has been shown that during development there will always be stories simpler than the one estimated with 2 points, ie: the settling of a bug in layout, the exchange of a label or even the exchange of one button interface.

3rd – Stories which a team member does not fully understand what should be implemented, should be punctuated with "?". In questions like this, the team should interact more with the PO to find out what is being expected of them.

4th – We define the maximum point of the scale (100) is used to represent that this Story is too big and should be broken down into smaller Stories. Given the first few tips, let's see how we proceed to estimate the Stories using points as a measure of effort.

Planning Poker Procedure:

1. The team should read the description of all the stories of the Product Backlog together to have an idea of what should be estimated.

2. From the stories of the Product Backlog, the team should select the simplest Story out of all Stories, that is, they require less effort to implement. This Story should than be given 2 points, which is the lowest point of the deck selected for this first planning poker.

3. This story will be the guide for the estimation process. It will serve as a reference for the other estimates.

4. Now, following the order presented in the Product Backlog, each Story is read back to the team and scored, taking the Story that got a 2 as a reference. We emphasize that a story that demands a greater effort to guide the story will not necessarily be scored with the next value in the range of points. The effort should be scored according to a proportion to the effort that was set to the guide Story. In this case it can be estimated as the Story receives eight points, for example, instead of three, which is the next point in the scale in use.

The "scale" mentioned is not absolute or mathematical. This is only an estimate, based on what professionals understand that it will be necessary to perform the work. Do not expect your team to be very accurate and hit everything at first. Over a few Sprints they get used to the technique and become superstars on agile estimates.

Now that we have the product backlog stories scored, we can plan the first Sprint of the project. Next week we will introduce how the first Sprint planning meeting should proceed. Be sure to join us!

Remember that this is the scale we use to estimate our stories, this scale can be adapted to your particular project.