Agile Estimating and Planning

Too many teams regard planning as something to be avoided and too many organisations view plans as something to hold against their development teams, yet planning is a key part of all projects, even agile ones. Despite the questionable usefulness of past plans, it is possible to create a project plan that looks forward six to nine months and is accurate and useful. This one−day class will provide insight into the common reasons why traditional planning approaches fail and participants will learn practices that really do work.

This class teaches participants new skills to use in creating improved plans for reliable decision-making. Participants leave with a solid understanding of, and experience with, agile release and iteration planning. Multiple approaches to estimating, including unit-less points and ideal time are demonstrated and participants will be taught four techniques for deriving estimates, including the popular Planning Poker® technique. Such techniques have been shown to increase estimation accuracy and these proven planning techniques dramatically increase any project’s chances of on-time completion.

This course is licensed from Mike Cohn of Mountain Goat Software. Mike has 15 years of experience with planning techniques on agile projects and is the author of the most popular book on this subject: Agile Estimating and Planning. This course has been delivered to numerous professionals around the world.

You will learn

  • The importance of estimating size and deriving duration
  • The differences between story points and ideal time
  • The advantages of an abstract measure of size
  • Techniques of estimating and how and when to re-estimate
  • How and when to perform release and iteration planning
  • Tips for communicating about estimates and plans

Course Outline

  1. What is Agile Planning?
    • The precision trap
    • Reliable decision making
  2. Sprint planning
    • Working in priority order
    • Velocity-driven planning
    • Commitment-driven planning
    • The purpose of sprint planning
    • Improving over time
  3. Units for the Product Backlog
    • Ideal days Story points
    • Each approach has its merits
    • Comparing the two approaches
  4. Techniques for Estimating
    • Estimating by analogy
    • Disaggregation Planning Poker® Anchoring
    • When to re-estimate
  5. Release Planning
    • Estimating velocity
    • Fixed-date projects
    • Fixed-scope projects
    • Using a range
  6. Planning With Large Teams
    • A common estimating unit
    • Sprint planning
    • Managing dependencies


For Project Management Professionals, this course may lead to 7 PDUs as approved by the Project Management Institute.