What Mike Said

By | January 27, 2014

With all the excitement around estimates, it was time to build “What Mike Said”.

Heading into a 2-day hack-a-thon, we were being encouraged to work on ideas that would bring benefit, without needing to relate to any of the Company’s top priority items. The beauty team were offering shiny new iPads for the best hack relating to their field, but I had other fish to fry; I wanted to talk about the estimation process – but also have some fun.

Do you remember Stroke the Goat? It was a site where you could consult the goat (a nod to Mike Cohn’s Mountain Goat Software, I assume) for an estimate on how many story points a project was. It was quite fun but, if you were sizing stories instead of projects, was useless because all the points were large (e.g. 57).

I thought it would be good to have one using Mountain Goat Software’s Fibonacci-like sequence: 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 20 (+ coffee, ? and 0). I also wanted to bring some fun to the process and have a laugh at some of the idiosyncrasies that go with sizing.

  • As a team estimating stories
  • I want a story point generator
  • So that it raises some questions over how we estimate (and breaks the monotony of a sizing session)


So, working with a dev friend, Pete Smith, we made a number generator that was weighted towards 5, then reducing the probability as we moved towards the extremities. I wanted a cartoon figure to tell us the estimate (I was thinking Monty Python but we ended up more South Park) and we included some quotes from an imaginary team that would at the same time make people laugh and raise some serious points/questions about how teams estimate.

With Mike’s help, we delivered whatmikesaid.com in time. Now I’ve just got to persuade our iOS and Android devs to make us some app versions.


We are very grateful for Mike Cohn’s help in producing the site and for being a good sport – not everyone would like the idea of being South Park’d.

PLANNING POKER® is a reg. trademark of Mountain Goat Software, LLC. Sequence of values is © Mountain Goat Software, LLC.


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