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What’s the best Planning Poker tool in Zoom? Or Teams?

28 Dec, 2020

During the lockdown, we do Planning Poker in Zoom or Teams. We admit it has nothing to do with real poker, but it’s a great activity for your team while waiting for the restaurants and casinos to reopen after the lockdowns. By now you wonder which tool you can use the best to determine our estimates collaboratively. Which facilitates the best interaction in your Scrum team? Read on because we have all the answers! 

Why should you keep doing Planning Poker?

You’d like to keep doing this because this Refinement practice naturally raises:

1. The team’s awareness of what work is expected and get clarification.
2. Knowledge and tactics will be shared
3. Assumptions will become clear
4. Negotiation with the Product Owner will occur to keep it small AND valuable

More about why estimates work: Read this book Agile Estimating and Planning by Mike Cohn.

Which Planning Poker tool to use online in Zoom? or Teams?

What’s the best Planning Poker tool you would use in Zoom or Teams? I had a discussion with my Agile coach colleagues within Xebia. We agree analog cards trump any online tool. Why?

A. First, analog cards are readily made available to anyone. So, no security system to jump over. And no licenses are needed. No security compliance issue. Just create them!

B. Secondly, each team member could create the card deck themselves. Consequently, this fosters ownership. Some will introduce some fun and/or improvement. Especially, if you encourage any team member, to introduce an extra card. For example, ‘time for a break’ or ‘we try to estimate too soon’.

C. Most importantly, it will naturally force any team member to put the camera on. Raising opportunities to spot non-verbal signals of anyone. That’s great!

This together comes close to mirroring the office situation. And as an advantage, the screen sharer doesn’t need to switch applications all the time.

See my deck of cards. Easily made of some thick paper and a fat black marker, for instance.

You can use these planning Poker cards in any Zoom or Teams meeting. A low-tech solution facilitating great interaction!

Any questions? Raise them below!

Your potential next step to increase your effectiveness in Scrum:

Would you like to become the best Scrum Master? Join our Advanced Online class

Would you like to deepen your tactics in great Refinement? Join classes like
Specification by example by Gojko Adzic It is the cornerstone of any successful requirements and testing strategy with Agile and Lean processes, like Scrum, Extreme Programming, and Kanban. This workshop teaches you how to apply SBE to bridge the communication gap between stakeholders and implementation teams, build quality into software from the start, and design, develop, and deliver systems fit for purpose.

Make your team stronger. Distribute the workload of testers over time better and become better as a team. Understanding cross-functional competencies and needs will increase while applying Test Driven Development.

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