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1. Planning Poker: All participants use numbered playing cards and estimate the items. Voting is done anonymous and discussion is raised when there are large differences. Voting is repeated till the whole team reached consensus about the accurate estimation. Planning poker works well when you have to estimate a relative small number of items (max 10) in a small team (5-8 people). Tip: try to keep the voting between affordable numbers. Maximize the highest card to 13 points. More on planning poker via this link.
2. T-shirt Sizing: This is a perfect technique for estimating a large backlog of relative large items. Especially when you have several concurrent scrum teams working on the same product. Items are estimated into t-shirt sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL. The decision about the size is based on an open and mutual collaborative discussion. This method is an informal and quick way to get an rough feeling about the total size of your backlog. More about T-shirt size estimation is here.
3. Dot Voting: When you are faced with a relative small set of items and in need of a super simple and effective technique to estimate you can use Dot Voting. This method has originated form decision making and you can use it for estimating. Each person gets a small number of small stickers and can choose to vote for the individual items. The more dots is an indicator of a bigger size. Works well in both small and large group. You have to limit the number of estimated items. More on dot voting here.
These are different methods you can use to make agile estimation more efficient and an inspiring team effort. Please share your experiences with this below in the comments section.
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