Introduction Priority Poker (En)


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Tired of ever-changing priorities?

In many projects, both in agile and traditional development environments, correct prioritisation is key. Due to diverging interests and influences among the parties involved, establishing a consensus can sometimes be difficult, if not impossible.

Moreover, the known methods of setting priorities do not always accommodate the views and opinions of all relevant stakeholders, which can lead to misconceptions and delays in development. Endless discussions about priorities become a continuous effort and prioritisations once thought well established are often corrected on a regular/daily basis.

Do these issues sound familiar to you? With Priority Poker we would like to present you with a solution that may solve many of these problems, or not even let them occur at all. Motivated by a playful approach, experts from different fields and disciplines meet in a Priority Poker session. Participants of such a session ideally consist of all stakeholders and otherwise involved or affected people/parties. Through “gambling” with priorities, the attention and motivation of the participants is easily evoked.

The rules are simple (view details in the document „Introduction and Example“) and are related to the widely known Planning Poker.

Within a few rounds of estimation, a priority sequence based on the principle of relative weighting is established. This is supported by a clear graduation of the factors used.

The simple rules facilitate a solution-oriented discussion about what is really important.

The priorities established through relations are evolving by taking into account the opinions and views of every stakeholder. The social component promises a joint implementation of the elaborated strategy and leads to successful prioritisations.

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Introduction Priority Poker (En)

  1. 1. Priority  Poker   Introduction and Example SwissQ, June 2012
  2. 2. Page 2 Herausforderung Approach Priority Poker in Detail Relative Estimates Example 1 2 3 4 5 Summary6 Next Steps7 Challenge
  3. 3. Prioritization §  The word prioritization derives from the Latin adjective „prior“ for earlier, first. §  Prioritization helps to allocate resources by sorting tasks, problems or other items according to their § importance (relevance, criticality) and/or their § urgency (short/middle/long term)* §  The purpose is to usefully allocate the limited (financial) resources, capacities and time. Page 3 * Source:
  4. 4. The Eisenhower Method Page 4 §  Well known and self-explanatory §  But, in everyday life the urgent supersedes the important §  When something gets urgent, it is mostly already too late §  Often, a lot is urgent and important (thus, it isn‘t divisible or even manageable any more) not urgent urgent importantunimportant
  5. 5. Which are the true priorities? Page 5 Existing prioritization is often too superficial and does not really address the very (un-)critical topics. ProbabilityofOccurrence Extent of Damage ProbabilityofOccurrence Impact on the Project (deadlines, costs, quality) low high low medium high lowhigh low <25% medium 25%-75% high >75%
  6. 6. Different Views! Page 6 Each stakeholder has his own view of „what is how important“. Project Manager BA‘s / Dev‘s / Testers Customer End User Suppliers Specialists ManagementBusiness Additionally: -  Common understanding -  Understand each others needs -  All information available
  7. 7. Challenges §  Current models often don‘t help in identifying the really important elements §  80% are priority 1 (or priority AAAAAA+++) §  The focus is not on the really critical or profitable topics §  Important stakeholders are often not included in the process, which results in a lot of disagreement about priorities §  The social process of creating a mutual understanding is ignored Page 7
  8. 8. Page 8 Challenge Approach Priority Poker in Detail Relative Estimates Example 1 2 3 4 5 Summary6 Next Steps7
  9. 9. Prioritization u Is a unit of measurement u Is a middle way between subjective and objective evaluation Priority Poker provides this middle way Ø  All project members who are important for prioritization get involved Ø  Individual first estimates followed by discussion Ø  Final decision by the team after the second estimate Page 9
  10. 10. Use of Relations Page 10 Not important Extremely important The relative evaluation reveals their importance in relation to each other.
  11. 11. Evaluation with Fibonacci Numbers Page 11 100 100 200 300 800 500 1300 2100 3400
  12. 12. Relative Estimates Page 12 Working with relative estimates is often easier and more precise. They remain valid even if the assumed basis of the relation changes. Pro‘s Con‘s §  First estimates take more time, until the team is in the „flow“ §  Reference objects are needed as a point of orientation for estimators §  Risk of solution-oriented or other philosophical discussions during sessions §  Risk that single estimators dominate the group or use their political power §  Relation mostly remains the same even if the absolute value of an item changes (e.g. complexity or number of users) §  There are no discussions about absolute values (LoC, number of users, etc.) §  The really important elements are identified very quickly. So do the unimportant ones. §  If an element is extremely important it can be split up for more deliberate processing
  13. 13. The Social Process Page 13 The social process leads to a common view of priorities and risks. Project Manager Business Analysts Management UsersDevelopers Business
  14. 14. The Procedure also includes... §  Estimate of Experts §  Knowledge is at hand §  Open questions can be answered §  Team estimate doesn’t put too much focus on experts §  Analogies §  Comparison of / relation to other items during estimation §  Disaggregation (maturity / dissolution) §  Splitting up elements because of too high complexity, risk, etc. §  Revealing and closing information gaps §  etc. Page 14
  15. 15. What can be prioritized? §  Project portfolio §  Release and product planning §  Design of roadmaps §  Change requests §  Requirements §  Risks, tasks and activities §  Evaluation criteria (e.g. for value benefit analysis) §  Allocation of budget, resources §  Evaluation of ideas and innovation §  Nutritional value of food... §  ... and much more! Page 15
  16. 16. Page 16 Challenge Approach Priority Poker in Detail Relative Estimates Example 1 2 3 4 5 Summary6 Next Steps7
  17. 17. Setting Priorities Right Page 17
  18. 18. Priority Poker Page 18 When playing Priority Poker, all stakeholders set the priorities together. Be it for requirements, change requests, risks or test cases. §  Priority Poker uses the corresponding game cards (can be ordered at SwissQ) and a list of elements to be evaluated such as requirements, specifications, user stories, use cases, test objects, test cases or bugs. §  All relevant stakeholders participate, the selection and distribution of information has to be done beforehand. Each person receives a card set. §  A moderator - who doesn‘t play the game himself - is leading the poker session. He is responsible for the adherence to the time boxes and suppresses solution- oriented discussions.
  19. 19. Card Values Page 19 I need a break! I need an explanation! Not important (cold) Extremely important (hot)
  20. 20. Estimate Page 20 Risk View §  How often will the item be used? §  How severe would be the extent of damage if the object doesn‘t work? Benefit View §  How probable is it that the object will be used? §  How large is the measurable benefit of the object? 1 high2 medium3 low Probability of Occurrence 1high2medium3low ExtentofDamage
  21. 21. The First Round Page 21 Step 1: Presentation of the item to be estimated. Moderator Step 2: First “secret" estimate of the item. Step 3: Simultaneous disclosure of the estimates. Max. 2 minutes Max. ½ minute Topic Descr. Value 1 Topic 1 2 Topic 2 … …
  22. 22. Explanation of Estimates / The Second Round Page 22 Step 4: Explanation of highest and lowest estimate. Max. 1 minute 200 because… 1300 because… Step 5: Second “secret" estimate of the object. Step 6: Simultaneous disclosure of the second round of estimates. Max. ½ minute
  23. 23. The Decision / Next Topics Page 23 Next steps: Repeat procedure until all topics of the list have been estimated. The topics are prioritized then and can be worked on accordingly. Step 7: Aggreement to one estimate Moderator Max. 1 minute 500? OK OK OK Topic Descr. Value 1 Topic 1 500 2 Topic 2 1300 3 Topic 3 300 4 Topic 4 2100 5 Topic 5 1300 6 Topic 6 3400 7 Topic 7 800
  24. 24. Rules §  Time boxes have to be respected Each activity in Priority Poker is time boxed and the moderator has to make sure that those time boxes are followed. §  No solution-oriented discussions Only questions about comprehension will be allowed and answered during the poker rounds. If a topic on the priority list remains unclear it has to be discussed outside the round and will be reintroduced into another poker round later. §  No session lasts longer than two hours A new session will be scheduled if there are still non-prioritized topics on the list after two hours. Page 24 Goal-oriented to the right priorities
  25. 25. Page 25 Challenge Approach Priority Poker in Detail Relative Estimates Example 1 2 3 4 5 Summary6 Next Steps7
  26. 26. Relative Estimate of Country Size Page 26 Country Estimate Belgium 200* Germany France Italy Liechtenstein The Netherlands Norway Sweden Switzerland Spain * = serves as a reference value for the other estimates
  27. 27. Relative Estimate of Country Size Page 27 Country Size in kkm² Relation* Belgium 32.55 200 Germany 357.1 2100 France 543.9 3400 Italy 301.3 1300 Liechtenstein 0.16 100 The Netherlands 41.5 300 Norway 323.7 2100 Sweden 449.9 3400 Switzerland 41.3 300 Spain 504.6 3400 * = approximate relation according to personal estimate
  28. 28. Page 28 Challenge Approach Priority Poker in Detail Relative Estimates Example 1 2 3 4 5 Summary6 Next Steps7
  29. 29. Exercise: How Big is the Dog? §  Bernese mountain dog §  Chihuahua §  Alsatian §  Dachshund §  Mastino §  Collie §  Greyhound Page 29
  30. 30. Additional Information Page 30
  31. 31. Exercise: How Big is the Dog? §  Bernese mountain dog §  Chihuahua §  Alsatian §  Dachshund §  Mastino §  Collie §  Greyhound Page 31
  32. 32. Page 32 Challenge Approach Priority Poker in Detail Relative Estimates Example 1 2 3 4 5 Summary6 Next Steps7
  33. 33. Priority Poker works because... §  Priority Poker brings together different experts and decision makers. These experts make up a „cross-functional“ team uniting all important disciplines, and therefore constitute the best team to set the priorities. §  The active exchange during the Priority Poker session ensures the information flow between those experts and thus leads to a common view of the priorities which is supported by all parties. §  And it‘s fun! Page 33
  34. 34. Priority Poker can be used for (practically) anything! §  Project plans and activities §  Design of roadmaps §  Release and product planning §  User stories §  Evaluation of ideas and innovation §  Nutritional value of food... §  ... and much more! Page 34
  35. 35. Page 35 Challenge Approach Priority Poker in Detail Relative Estimates Example 1 2 3 4 5 Summary6 Next Steps7
  36. 36. Next Steps §  You can order Priority Poker sets at SwissQ. Just call (+41 43 288 88 40) or send an e-mail ( §  Do you want guidance in playing Priority Poker? SwissQ provides a moderator for max. 2 hours for free. Page 36
  37. 37. References §  Mike Cohen, 2005, Agile Estimating and Planning, Prentice Hall International §  Mike Cohen, Planning Poker for Estimating on Agile Projects, §  Ilan Goldstein, Relative Estimation Communication, §  Malte Foegen (Wibas), 2006, Planning Poker: A slightly different take on estimating, Power-Point Page 37