Objectives and Techniques

With knowledge of the successes and failures we had encountered, and the start of an inventory of items we estimate (see Background), we began to explore what objectives we were pursuing when pursue one approach or the other.



For Estimating When Not Estimating
  • Build trust
  • Build confidence/feel more comfortable about being able to deliver
  • Data for retrospectives
  • Plan and coordinate with other functions/groups
  • Transfer risk (and find a scapegoat)
  • See complexity over time (in points) that a team can sustainably deliver on in a sprint (ballpark)
  • Confidence for team and business
  • Plan accurately
  • Forecast to coordinate
  • Justify project
  • Make budgets
  • Make better prioritization decisions
  • Forecast to make commitment/investment decisions
  • Get funded
  • Calculate ROI
  • Satisfy Management
  • Improve release planning
  • Gain clarity & visibility
  • Produce more value
  • Focus on value (or even just questions to answer)
  • Eliminate waste
  • Reducing waste in the work system
  • Get started faster knowing where we are going
  • Deliver more value over time
  • Stop giving super specific (and false) estimates to minor detailed tasks to the business
  • Free our creativity (don’t box us in)
  • Depends on work if points even make any sense
  • Potentially allow for a different trade-off
  • Routine work e.g. monthly release support
  • Focus on retrospective action items for improvement


Then we turned our attention to what techniques we use when we either estimate or don’t.


Used For Estimating Used When Not Estimating
  • Only talk about estimation  during backlog refinement (t-shirt sizing)
  • Burndown chart
  • Understand the confidence interval
  • Affinity estimation
  • Discuss, ..1-2-3… Show count
  • Monte Carlo simulation
  • Planning Poker
  • Rank Ordering
  • Weighted Shortest Job First
  • Modeling
  • Use/Compare to Actuals
  • Estimation by Analogy
  • Specific criteria & acceptance
  • Affinity mapping
  • In depth grooming for debated story complexity
  • Sustainable commitments
  • Mob programming
  • Implicit estimation (ballpark)
  • Impact – Effort Matrix
  • Kanban
  • Pay only what it’s worth
  • Priority Pyramid for a backlog
  • Cycle-time analysis of work items in the retrospective
  • Team’s confidence & vote to commit
  • Flow efficacy and run rate
  • Update progress on tasking frequently
  • Measure story completion rates (flow)
  • “Just do it”
  • See investment, flow, et cetera for entire line of funding
  • Monte Carlo on live data
  • Use economic/finance metrics (run rate)
  • LeSS, no Lean
  • Establish a time or cost box to discover if value is there (think like a spike)
  • Revisit Definition of Ready stories (much as you do for Definition of Done)
  • Tabletop card sorting (can sort by relative effort without writing down size)