Animal Sizing suggestions

Last post 03:51 am March 31, 2014
by Chee-Hong Hsia
7 replies
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06:12 am March 26, 2014

Hi all,

I’m sure all of you have experience the following matter with teams that are new with relative sizing.

Despite all the coaching and training, developers somehow always revert the numbers on the poker cards to time.
There are some T-Shirt sizing cards out there, but on these cards are also numbers displayed.

Because of this, I’m thinking of creating my own poker cards with nothing beside a picture.
I was thinking of something in the animal kingdom so I came up with the following animals:

0 Flea
0.5 Ant
1 Bee
2 Baby chicken
3 Rabbit
5 Dog
8 Lion
13 Horse
20 Hippo
40 Elephant
100 Blue whale
Koffie Coffee beans
? Question mark

I don’t really care if the dog isn’t really twice as big as a baby chicken, but more that it is obvious that it is bigger. Important here is that there should be no discussion about the size of the animals.

what do you guys think? Any animals that needs to be changed? switch? to avoid discussion? :)

06:36 am March 26, 2014

I would suggest to try it and see what happens. In the end, it's inspect and adapt, not sticking to practices what makes teams successful. If animals help the team to focus on size instead of time, go for it, however it seems kind of weird that you translate the animals back to points in order to calculate a velocity. The team will learn this and may shift to translating time to points to animals, in which case you didn't win anything.
I have experienced that an experienced team that has understood the meaning of the size of a story doesn't even have to play the planning poker game to get a good estimation.

06:42 am March 26, 2014

Posted By Ludwig on 26 Mar 2014 06:36 AM
I would suggest to try it and see what happens. In the end, it's inspect and adapt,

Customizing cards unfortunately doesn’t come cheap, so I was hoping to get it right at the very first time. (I know, not very agile when it comes to that)

however it seems kind of weird that you translate the animals back to points in order to calculate a velocity. The team will learn this and may shift to translating time to points to animals, in which case you didn't win anything.
I have experienced that an experienced team that has understood the meaning of the size of a story doesn't even have to play the planning poker game to get a good estimation.

I don’t believe in good estimations, only bad ones. (mister optimistic he?)
My idea is to abandon everything that has to do with points because from my experience it’s much easier to revert back to time if you are dealing with numbers, especially if you are relatively new with sizing.
Plus it’s just a fun way to do the estimation

09:00 am March 26, 2014

I agree that it is a fun way to use animals instead of numbers. Think about how the team can decide how many items they pull into a sprint. You could paint Noah's ark (a ship on which he rescued all animals from the flood according to the bible) on the wall and paint the animal for each story inside the ark.
An agile approach for the cards would be to first use homemade cards, inspect and adapt, and as soon as the team is satisfied with the cards, order printed ones.
Best, Ludwig

09:38 am March 26, 2014

Posted By Ludwig on 26 Mar 2014 09:00 AM
I agree that it is a fun way to use animals instead of numbers. Think about how the team can decide how many items they pull into a sprint. You could paint Noah's ark (a ship on which he rescued all animals from the flood according to the bible) on the wall and paint the animal for each story inside the ark.
An agile approach for the cards would be to first use homemade cards, inspect and adapt, and as soon as the team is satisfied with the cards, order printed ones.
Best, Ludwig

Cool idea and thanks for the tip. Will certainly provide feedback on how it went.

11:54 am March 26, 2014

Using animals is interesting, however I think you'll need to keep educating the SCRUM team and SCRUM team would need to keep remembering where particular animal stands in the range. I think sub-consciously what people would do is associate the number corresponding to Animal or T-shirt size or any other unit you decide to use within your team.
These Units might be good to start with, however ultimately when the estimates are getting matured, the team could use only numbers to be more precise.

10:04 pm March 30, 2014

0 Flea
0.5 Ant
1 Bee
2 Mouse
3 Rabbit
5 Cat
8 Dog
13 Lion
20 Hippo
40 Elephant
100 Blue whale

03:51 am March 31, 2014

Posted By Justin on 30 Mar 2014 10:04 PM
0 Flea
0.5 Ant
1 Bee
2 Mouse
3 Rabbit
5 Cat
8 Dog
13 Lion
20 Hippo
40 Elephant
100 Blue whale

Thanks :)