One of the most important issues in a tech project is estimating the project's timing (Brooks, 1975).

This week in class we discussed estimation and the different methods available to them to estimate how long a project will take.

We focused on "Planning Poker". This is a consensus-based, gamified technique for estimating how long the project will take. Cards are dealt to each participant - 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 20, 40, 100, a ? and an infinity symbol (task cannot be completed). These can mean whatever unit of time that participants want.

The process is for the project (or in our case a user story) to be proposed to the team. Each team considers what will need to be achieved and lays down a card face down for how long it will take to achieve. Everyone then turns over their card at the same time and explains their thought process for how they have come to that number. After having heard each explanation the process repeats until a consensus is reached and the timing agreed.

The beauty of it is that this can be as simple or as complicated as the project requires. And different points of view will bring out different important aspects of the project/user story and different experiences will be brought out to determine how long each aspect will take.

This process has received mixed reviews in the software world. But as over half of software development projects end in failure (over time or over budget) this is definitely an area that the industry needs to focus on.

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