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Agile Estimations — Which one to pick?

Did you ever question why estimations are taking so long? Or why we are not being able to even reach 50% of what was planned?

Estimations are usually a big topic, especially in the Software Engineering discipline and Agile world. Independent of which industry or field you are in, you are always going to be estimating work.

Working with Product Teams since 2011, I experienced many different estimation techniques. In the infographic below I put together my favorite ones, analyzing them in two layers:

  1. Level of maturity required to use the technique.

  2. How quick the technique usually is.

Choosing your estimation technique might be related to many things, such as company expectations and team style. Some companies might be totally fine with ‘No Estimation’ techniques, while others might need roadmaps, velocity, or timelines which would require more precise techniques.

On the team side, it is also not a black-and-white answer as for example, very mature teams might love to use story points or young engineers might be more interested in using faster estimation techniques.

Most importantly, keep discussing with your team better or different approaches to estimations. The general goal should be to not have huge surprises at the end of every Sprint or Cycle.

My favorite approach is when teams agree on a Sprint or Cycle goal and the tasks to achieve them. In my experience, it is easy and creates a strong sense of commitment.

There are also many other estimation methodologies out there, such as Dot Voting or Affinity Mapping. Which agile estimation technique are your teams using? Would you agree with the layers presented on the infographic?


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