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Anatoly Scherbakov
Anatoly Scherbakov

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Planning Poker app for Humans

In Scrum, you are usually expected to estimate your tasks — preferably relying on estimation points, a transcendental measurement unit that no living human I have met can completely understand.

Process of estimation is often called poker.

How is it done?

Here is how one Agile Poker app, which we happen to use in our company, does this.

This screenshot is not mine

This article might start sounding like a piece of stupid marketing. Except it's not, - because the user experience of this app is awful.

  • Every member of the team clicks the little dropdown to choose the preferred estimation number;
  • When the one who leads the meeting decides that sufficient count of estimates has been gathered - he or she clicks the "Show Estimates" button, and the estimates are revealed.
  • Now the attendees discuss the estimates and agree on one final number;
  • The lead uses the same nasty dropdown to choose that number.

This one is

This dropdown is enormously annoying. It forces you to do too much work:

  • click to open it,
  • and then click on the desired number.

You have also to scroll the issues list and click on the issue itself if you'd like to find out additional information from the issue...

This world is full of pain.

Did I say this was a quick and dirty article?

Well, it is. And that's why I did not spend too much time looking for alternatives. I've come up with the following instead.

Basicly my first UI mockup EVER

Drawing this, I tried to rely upon the following principles.

  • When using the tool, you can keep your hands on the keyboard. No mouse needed.
  • The tool should be independent of the task management system you use. It should integrate with Jira, Notion card boards, Trello, ... - whatever you wish.
  • I would love it to be open source.
  • The screen displays the summary of the task, maybe a piece of its description and probably some basic properties like rank, etc.
  • The estimation figures are displayed in a large font.
  • To specify your estimate, just enter the number and hit Enter. It will be submitted.
  • Or, you can use arrows to move from one estimate to another. System will show you which other tasks (preferably those of yours) were previously marked with the given story points value.

I want to specifically highlight the diagram which explains story point values. I got it from a colleague of mine, who says she found it on some video and made a screenshot, but she can't remember what video that was and who was the author. So, if anyone can help here, I'd be grateful - since I like this diagram a lot.

So what?

I will be glad to hear any opinions. I do know there are planning poker apps on the web, but I couldn't find quite the one matching my description - open source, integrated with many task management systems, and easy to use. Maybe such a marvel does exist and I don't know?

But if you are an aspiring web developer and want to do something interesting - seems to be available yet :-)

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