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Establishing the level of difficulty of the Next Target Condition can somewhat be difficult and subjective. An option to evaluate the difficulty of a proposed Next Target Condition is to use the Poker Planning technique. In this process, the team gathers and evaluates the difficulty of a proposed Next Target Condition. Poker Planning can help teams decide on the difficulty of the proposed Next Target Condition.
What is Toyota kata?
Toyota kata is a practice routine for developing new skills and changing long-term behaviors of employees and managers (Rother, 2015). Landry and Beaulieu (2016: 66) describe Toyota Kata as “the formalization of the problem-solving approach used intuitively by Toyota managers with their teams, with the aim of rapidly inducing a change towards a culture of continuous improvement in organizations other than Toyota.”
Figure 1.1 – A model for changing organizational culture (adapted from Rother, 2010: 237)
What is Planning Poker?
Planning poker is one of the most popular technique for making estimates in an agile project. This technique is often used to help teams estimate implementation time, work hours or cost . The estimates are made in teams and call upon collective intelligence by solliciting input from all team members.
How does it work?
This estimation method is practiced with a card game, hence its name. Each participant has the same cards whose values are inspired by the Fibonacci sequence. The cards have the following values: 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, etc. . When estimating the workload of a feature or task, participants use this set of cards specifically designed to evaluate time and task complexity. The higher the card, the more the difference between the values is important, as the Fibonacci sequence is an exponential sequence, forcing team members to make a decision on the level of complexity, hence removing conservative choices. For example, a value of 0 represents a task that is not requiring any particular effort. The values 1,2 or 3 can be used for particularly simple tasks and 3, 5 or 8 for slightly more complex tasks. The value 144 represents a great complexity and, for example, a large number of working hours. In short ; higher the number, the more the realization requires a substantial or a more complex work by the team members.
Each participant assesses the complexity of the scenario, chooses the card that corresponds to his estimate and places it face down on the table in front of him. At the signal of the facilitator, the cards are returned at the same time. If there’s a disagreement amongst the team, a discussion begins between the members to explain the reason of the gap observed. The estimation process is repeated until the team reach a consensus.
There are often differences in estimates between different team members and the objective of Planning Poker is to encourage discussions and debates to converge to a team consensus.The main advantage of planning poker is that everyone is free to express himself as he sees fit by soliciting different sources of information and different opinions. Everyone can express themselves freely and bring their experience and their point of view to the table. Nobody has more weight than another in the estimates.