Estimation Techniques to Use in the Agile SCRUM World (The ART of WAG-Ing)

Estimation Techniques to Use in the Agile SCRUM World (The ART of WAG-Ing)

The focus of this article is the estimation aspect of the product backlog. For additional information about SCRUM, perform a Google or YouTube search. There are many sites and videos that will provide an overview in a small amount of time.This article looks at two techniques to coming up with your estimates or WAGs from an Agile/SCRUM perspective.

What is a WAG?

If your from the UK you might think this is an acronym for girlfriends or wife of famous football players (soccer), in software development terms however a WAG is an acronym for Wild @$$ Guess.

Estimation Techniques:

Table Top T-Shirt Sizing (S,M,L,XL)

Each backlog item is written on a 3×5 index card and placed on a table.

Identify the smallest sized item to act as the point of reference (S).

Group each card, with each corresponding group approximately twice as large as the first.

(M = S+S, L = M+M)

Any item larger than XL is an epic which is too large to estimate.

(These need to be re-evaluated and broken down into a size that can be estimated)

Once all items (cards) are placed into their groups. Points are assigned to each size.

Fibonacci numbers can be used or simply double, for example:

Double: S = 1, M = 2, L = 4, XL = 8

Fibonacci: S = 1, M = 3, L = 8, XL = 13

Planning Poker

Each backlog item is discussed with the participating team members.

Each participant has a planning poker card deck.

Once the product backlog item has been discussed, everyone shows their card..

If the estimates are close together, the higher of the estimate is taken. If there are large gaps between estimates then the highest and lowest discuss with each other out loud why they think their estimate is more accurate.

For distributed teams, there is software available that will allow this exercise to take place.


In physics, velocity is the rate of change of position.

In Scrum, velocity is how much product backlog effort a team can handle in one sprint.

Example: Product Backlog of 1000 Points

The team has burned 300 points in three sprints.

The velocity is 100 points per sprint.

At the current velocity this team would project it would finish the remaining 700 points in 7 sprints.

write by Edana

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