Estimate your projects with Planning Poker®

Planning Poker® is an agile approach for estimating the effort involved in software projects. It’s agile, easy to use, and proven in practice.

What is Planning Poker®?

Planning Poker® is a technique used in agile project planning to estimate the amount of effort involved in delivering a product or piece of work. It’s an effective way of enabling the experts in a project team to draw on their experience to assess the complexity, amount of work and degree of risk or uncertainty involved – and find a consensus unaffected by the group-think issues that can distort the process of decisionmaking in a team.

Naturally the entirety of the process is owned by a cross-functional team that includes all the disciplines needed to deliver the project. But the Planning Poker® should be limited to the team actually responsible for the task at hand. They bring together all the required skills and experience, so they’re the only people able to reliably estimate the effort involved.

Planning Poker® is a consensus-based technique that makes sure that everyone in the team has the same understanding of the task and the estimates behind it. The result is better estimations, greater commitment, and improved chances of meeting project goals.

How do you play Planning Poker®?

General rule: only the team implementing the feature in question should do the estimates for it.

  1. The moderator explains the procedure to the whole team. Each estimator holds a deck of Planning Poker® cards with numbers on them (for example 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8 and 13). The numbers represent the number of story points or other units in which the team estimates.
  2. The first task to estimate is explained to the team. The product owner answers any potential questions.
  3. Each member of the team estimates the complexity of the task and puts the relevant card face-down on the table (the higher the number, the higher the complexity).
  4. Everybody reveals their estimate at the same time by turning their card face-up so that the whole team can see all the numbers.
  5. The team members with the highest and lowest cards explain their estimate and the assumption behind it. At this point there is time for discussion. Typically this will result in the decision to either have the task re-explained or refine the task.
  6. Repeat the procedure to estimate the task again with the new insights in mind.
  7. Go on repeating the procedure until the team agrees on an estimate, or until the estimators decide that they have to defer the process until they have more information.


Contact us

Patrik Rüegge

Patrik Rüegge

Director for Enterprise Agility & Digital Banking, PwC Switzerland

Tel: +41 58 792 2678

Robert Ballantine

Robert Ballantine

Advisory Partner, PwC Switzerland

Tel: +41 58 792 2241

Jörg Thews

Jörg Thews

Insurance Advisory Leader, PwC Switzerland

Tel: +41 58 792 2635