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How does Planning Poker® work?

The idea behind Planning Poker is simple. Individual stories are presented for estimation. After a period of discussion, each participant chooses from his own deck the numbered card that represents his estimate of how much work is involved in the story under discussion. All estimates are kept private until each participant has chosen a card. At that time, all estimates are revealed and discussion can begin again.

Our Tool Lets Even Distributed Teams Estimate Together

Planning Poker is the best way we've found for agile teams to estimate. It's primary downside has been that all participants had to be sitting in the same room with a physical deck of cards in their hands.

Now, this free online tool lets distributed teams take advantage of Planning Poker, too.

Simple and Safe to Use

We will not share or view your data. We will not barter or sell your contact information. We're not going to spam you. Your online session will only be seen by those you invite.

“Planning Poker is a good way to come to a consensus without spending too much time on any one topic. It allows, or forces, people to voice their opinions, thoughts and concerns.”

— Lori Schubring, Manager, Bemis Manufacturing Company

“An elegant, useful tool with some really nice touches. I particularly like the multiple column spreadsheet cut and paste. It's an idea that I expect to see reused in a lot of applications.”

— Martin Lloyd, Project Manager, Greenpeace International

“Everyone loves this. Yesterday we all used laptops in the same room (along with one remote user) instead of cards. It's definitely more fun than using physical cards and solves the problem of revealing cards too soon. Great idea.”

— John Hill, Senior Project Manager, JDA Software Group, Inc.

FAQ about Planning Poker®

Who should play Planning Poker?

All of the developers on your team should participate. Keep in mind that developers refers to all programmers, testers, database analysts, user interaction designers, and so on. On agile projects, it's usually best if this number does not exceed ten people.

What is the setup like for a game?

One person is the moderator. After the moderator has signed in, she simply invites other team members to play. Then she'll enter a story (or theme) to estimate. The team will need to be on a conference call during the game so that they can talk and discuss the story. Once an estimate has been decided on the moderator enters the next story. We've included a two-minute timer in case discussions stall and pre-printed “cards” for team members to use. You can export your results after you're done.

Is this really free?

It's really free. Forever. Mountain Goat Software is providing this tool with no strings attached. Go ahead. Create an account and give it a try.

Is my information truly private?

We've made every effort to safeguard your data. We promise not to sell, barter, share, or spam. Our complete privacy policy is yours for the reading. We might send you an occasional update by email, but you'll be able to opt-out.

How do I know Planning Poker works?

Planning Poker works because it lets the people who are actually going to be completing the work do the estimating. Estimates derived from Planning Poker are more accurate because of the emphasis on lively discussion and the fact that estimators are called upon by their peers to justify their estimates — factors proven to increase accuracy. Finally, Planning Poker provides a true average of individual estimates, which has been shows to lead to better results.

What do I need to use Planning Poker?

You only need a modern browser like Firefox, Safari or Internet Explorer 6 or 7. Other browsers may work but are unsupported. Planning Poker won't work with JavaScript disabled.

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