Coming from my last post How abstract really are story points? I had the idea to share with you some websites where, completely free of charges, you get the necessary features to support your refinement meetings and estimation process.
To be very honest, I prefer the traditional playing card way, with all team seated in the same room… But nevertheless, we need to face, there are plenty of reasons where those services play a pragmatic and efficient role: in remote work or mobile work situations, when for other reasons we can’t be present like when visiting temporarily customers or other company offices, and in situations of offshore teams.
In this particular case, where the frequency of remote meetings can be high, this type of web-based services are very useful for the Agile practice. The offer for those applications is increasing everyday, with concepts that are multi platform (desktop and mobile), available in hybrid or native formats (search for it in Apple Store or in Google Play and you will be surprised with the number of possibilities).
Some have better usability, or present more features, more possibilities to integrate with your backlog, importing and exporting results through automatic plugins, some are more featured in the analytics, and others have multiple premium features or premium packages and thousands of different ways to be commercialized.
In this post, I just want to suggest some completely free of charges possibilities, enabling you to start immediately with your estimation process. In my opinion, those free services will cover the most common needs you will find as a beginner in the refinement and estimation process.
Those tools also have the role of collaborative work enablers. Using them, faster you will build enthusiasm across your team, regardless where they are located, to discuss about the stories, implementation and you will build a common team spirit around the product value creation.
Here you have my shortlist, I tried myself all, do the same and share in the comments your experience:
Allow you to create unlimited sessions and doesn’t mention limited number of participants per session. We can share the session link with our colleagues and the site is responsive. At the end the results can be exported to Excel.
With Pointing Poker you can organize your Grooming and Retrospective sessions.
You have some customization possibilities to your team and way of participation
For the open source fans, this is an option!
Scrum Poker is web based, responsive, you can create unlimited number of sessions, and I couldn’t read about limits in the number of participants per session.
Scrum Poker offers some different possibilities compared with Pointing Poker:
- The user can join the session from the desktop or from the mobile website, through link or QR code.
- The user needs to introduce the session ID or read the QR code.
- Once the stories are created or loaded from Jira or Github, each participant can start voting individually using their mobiles or laptops.
- We can also consult some analytics per session what can be interesting.
I love those two concepts from Pointing Poker and from Scrum Poker: the first is supported by donations and the second is open source.
Both are web-based, don’t requiring any installation, no sign-up required, clean and responsive design, easy to use and we don’t need to write stories if we wish, those services only enable the connection between teammates.
About paid Jira Plugins
I could find a very nice Jira plugin, for the ones who can be interested to integrated the estimation results, directly with the backlog.
This plugin allows you to make your planning poker based on sprints previously created and organized. For instance, you can define one or more sprints in advance and add there your collection of ready for grooming stories. See the demo here:
Please leave your comments! Tell me if you find those posts useful in your Agile practice!