Show me the hand

By | February 21, 2014

Do you still use physical cards in planning poker? Or maybe you use an app? Either way, the question has to be “why?”

Agile Planning Cards Pro by BiBa SOFTWARE

A past colleague of mine recently emailed me to say that he’d found such apps, and I asked why he didn’t use hands? “It’s quicker and a lot less hassle”, I said. To my astonishment, he replied “what do you mean use hands?” I’d assumed that everyone knows the hand-based technique. So, in case you’re also in the dark, here it is.

If you follow Mountain Goat’s Planning Poker™ technique, then it’s pretty easy to substitute cards (or e-cards) by using your hands: 1 to 8 should be easy to work out, then use a fist for 10 (to make 13 and 20). If you’re sizing stories over 20 then you’re back to cards (and should maybe review your process).

I’m not against cards or e-cards, but they do take longer for people to pick a number (see also dropping cards and clicking out of app). No doubt someone will complain that using hands allows people to change their minds after seeing others’ votes/game the system. My reply: Be vigilant and encourage everyone to speak their own mind and to “grow a pair”.

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