Planning poker(r), is a great strategy for scrum teams. It’s a team-based approach to estimating the effort required to achieve business goals. Even serious developers like gamification!
Our company is part of Wisebits Group, and develops an online entertainment streaming platform. Our product is developed by several software development teams. These teams play planning poker and, as there are many products to choose from we spent time testing them all to find the best match.
I wanted to share our feedback on the planning poker tools that we tried. This will save you time if it’s something you are looking for for your team.
1. Pointing PokerPros
2. Scrumpoker OnlinePros
What we needed
All of our employees started working in the same office at first. We then arranged estimation sessions in the meeting rooms and used ScrumTime app. This is a set planning poker cards that you can have on your mobile device.
We also ordered the Planning Poker deck from Amazon later.
As the team grew, we realized that real cards were not practical to use in the same room. People couldn’t see the cards clearly in large groups. We decided to look into online tools that would show the results for the entire team. We were able to adapt quickly to the pandemic that hit later because we had switched to online tools.
During our tool research, I concentrated on the important points for us.
The planning poker app should be easy to use on both desktop and mobile. Sometimes we meet in the same place without our laptops, but with mobile devices only.
After the cards are revealed, you should not be able to change your vote (some apps allow this for some reason).
The moderator should have the option to reveal the cards to anyone who has not yet voted. I don’t vote as a moderator; however, in the event of any technical difficulties or a member of the team having to reconnect, the team should be able to continue the discussion.
The history of previous sessions should be saved in the planning poker tool.
What we tried
Six planning poker tools were tested. Let’s take a look at the pros and con of each.
1. Pointing Poker
Pointing Poker was my first and most simple tool.
Although it’s completely free, you can make a donation.
You don’t need to register; you can create a session or join an existing session and just go.
You can personalize your scale.
You can select who can reveal or remove cards from your account in the settings.
This was a positive point for us, as we prefer only moderators to do such things, so that other team members don’t make mistakes.
Participants can still change their votes after the cards have been revealed. This fact, while it was disappointing, made me want to continue my search for another option. It contradicts the main idea behind scrum poker, which is that everyone votes independently and has no influence on the sizing of other participants.
The estimation list cannot be exported. You can only copy the Story description prior to each round of voting. This is not convenient and takes extra time during the session.
It is impossible to save the history of estimations so you can return to it later. In our case, it is really useful as we move all the estimates to JIRA and it helps check the votes sometimes.
Pointing Poker2. Scrumpoker Online
Scrumpoker Online was my next tool.
If you don’t use Fibonacci, but prefer to use T-Shirt or any other scales, there are sets of scales.
Only session creators have the ability to see the entire picture. Only session creators can see the whole picture. Players cannot vote after they reveal the cards. The website suggests that scrum master views be displayed on a large screen such as a TV or projector and that everyone else is able to see them.