Tag Archives: game

Agile Estimation with the Bucket System

Estimation – The Bucket System [pdf] – printable reference version of this article.

The “Bucket System” is a way to do estimation of large numbers of items with a small to medium sized group of people, and to do it quickly.  The Bucket System has the following qualities which make it particularly suitable for use in Agile environments:

  • It’s fast!  A couple hundred items can be estimated in as little time as one hour.
  • It’s collaborative.  Everyone in a group participates roughly equally.
  • It provides relative results not absolute estimates (points vs. hours).
  • The results are not traceable to individuals and so it encourages group accountability.
  • Works with teams to estimate effort or with stakeholders to estimate value.

BucketSystem3

The Bucket System Process

The Bucket System of estimation works as follows:

  1. Set up the physical environment as per the diagram below.  Ensure that all the items to be estimated are written on cards.
  2. Choose an item at random from the collection.  Read it to the group.  Place it in the “8” bucket.  This item is our first reference item.
  3. Choose another item at random from the collection.  Read it to the group.  The group discusses its relative position on the scale.  Once consensus has been reached, put the item in the appropriate bucket.
  4. Choose a third item at random and, after discussion and consensus is reached, place it in the appropriate bucket.
  5. If the random items have clearly skewed the scale towards one end or the other, re-scale the items (e.g. if the first item is actually very small and should be in the “1” bucket).
  6. Divide and conquer.  Allocate all the remaining items equally to all the participants.  Each participant places items on the scale without discussion with other participants.   If a person has an item that they truly do not understand, then that item can be offered to someone else.
  7. Sanity check!  Everyone quietly reviews the items on the scale.  If a participant finds an item that they believe is out of place, they are welcome to bring it to the attention of the group.  The group then discusses it until consensus is reached and it is placed in one of the buckets.
  8. Write the bucket numbers on the cards so that the estimates are recorded.

Bucket SystemSome important points to consider:

  • Multiple items can be in the same bucket.
  • Items cannot be placed “between” buckets to represent a more precise estimate.
  • If the distribution of the items is skewed to either end of the scale, then during the sanity check step the group should also discuss if the items can and should be spread out more evenly along the scale.  If so, then the group does it collectively.
  • The facilitator should watch to make sure that no one moves items that have already been placed until the “sanity check” step.
  • The division of items among participants does not need to be exactly equal – don’t worry about “dealing” out the items.  Instead, just divide them up roughly.
  • If the “divide and conquer” stage has one or two people working very slowly through their items, it is acceptable to suggest that they share their remaining items with people who are already finished.
  • It is not acceptable for an individual to completely abstain from the process.  If someone desires to abstain, they should be counselled that this means they will not have any future say in the estimates.
  • During the “divide and conquer” stage it is critical that absolute silence is maintained.  In particular, there should be no bilateral discussion of items.  This is to protect the anonymity of individuals placing items as much as possible.

The Bucket System

 

The bucket system is a good alternative estimation method to try instead of Planning Poker.  It is much faster than Planning Poker and still gets reasonable results.


Affiliated Promotions:

Try our automated online Scrum coach: Scrum Insight - free scores and basic advice, upgrade to get in-depth insight for your team. It takes between 8 and 11 minutes for each team member to fill in the survey, and your results are available immediately. Try it in your next retrospective.

Please share!
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Link: Business Value Game

Interesting: The Business Value Game.  If you have tried it out with clients or with a team, please let us know in the comments!


Affiliated Promotions:

Try our automated online Scrum coach: Scrum Insight - free scores and basic advice, upgrade to get in-depth insight for your team. It takes between 8 and 11 minutes for each team member to fill in the survey, and your results are available immediately. Try it in your next retrospective.

Please share!
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Berteig
Upcoming Courses
View Full Course Schedule
Seven Design Thinking Tips for Product Owners - Lunch Session
Online
C$0.00
Feb 2
2021
Details
Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM) [Virtual Learning]
Online
C$1595.00
Feb 8
2021
Details
Team Kanban Practitioner® (TKP) [Virtual Learning]
Online
C$1195.00
Feb 10
2021
Details
Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO) [Virtual Learning]
Online
C$1795.00
Feb 11
2021
Details
Banking on Kanban - Kanban in the Financial Sector
Online - Instructor Led
C$149.00
Feb 16
2021
Details
Kanban System Design® (KMP I) [Virtual Learning]
Online
C$1795.00
Feb 17
2021
Details
Advanced Certified ScrumMaster® (A-CSM) [Virtual Learning]
Online
C$1695.00
Feb 17
2021
Details
The Myth of Self-Organizing Teams - Lunch Session
Online
C$0.00
Feb 18
2021
Details
Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM) [Virtual Learning]
Online
C$1595.00
Feb 23
2021
Details
Dealing with Slackers, Idiots and Subversives in Agile Teams - Lunch Session
Online
C$0.00
Feb 23
2021
Details
Kanban Systems Improvement® (KMP II) [Virtual Learning]
Online
C$1525.75
Feb 25
2021
Details
Master Kanban for Scrum - Kanban for Scrum Masters
Online - Instructor Led
C$149.00
Feb 25
2021
Details
Stop the BS Metrics! Performance Reviews in Agile Teams - Lunch Session
Online
C$0.00
Mar 2
2021
Details
Deadlines Are Dead To Me - Dealing with Deadlines in Agile Teams
Online - Instructor Led
C$149.00
Mar 2
2021
Details
Kanban Your Projects - Kanban for Project Managers
Online - Instructor Led
C$149.00
Mar 4
2021
Details
Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner® (A-CSPO) [Virtual Learning}
Online
C$1440.75
Mar 9
2021
Details
Leave Us Alone! - Dealing with Urgent Interruptions in Agile Teams
Online - Instructor Led
C$149.00
Mar 9
2021
Details
Team Kanban Practitioner® (TKP) [Virtual Learning]
Online
C$1015.75
Mar 10
2021
Details
Banking on Kanban - Kanban in the Financial Sector
Online - Instructor Led
C$149.00
Mar 10
2021
Details
Deadlines Are Dead To Me - Dealing with Deadlines in Agile Teams
Online - Instructor Led
C$149.00
Mar 18
2021
Details
Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM) [Virtual Learning]
Online
C$1355.75
Mar 22
2021
Details
Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO) [Virtual Learning]
Online
C$1525.75
Mar 25
2021
Details
What the Heck is Kanban? - Introduction to the Kanban Method
Online - Instructor Led
C$149.00
Mar 25
2021
Details
Leadership Writing Workshop [Virtual Learning]
Online
C$420.75
Mar 26
2021
Details
Kanban System Design® (KMP I) [Virtual Learning]
Online
C$1525.75
Mar 30
2021
Details
Advanced Certified ScrumMaster® (A-CSM) [Virtual Learning]
Online
C$1440.75
Mar 30
2021
Details
Kanban Your Projects - Kanban for Project Managers
Online - Instructor Led
C$149.00
Mar 31
2021
Details
Leadership Writing Workshop [Virtual Learning]
Online
C$420.75
Mar 31
2021
Details
Master Kanban for Scrum - Kanban for Scrum Masters
Online - Instructor Led
C$149.00
Apr 1
2021
Details
Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM) [Virtual Learning]
Online
C$1355.75
Apr 6
2021
Details
Banking on Kanban - Kanban in the Financial Sector
Online - Instructor Led
C$149.00
Apr 6
2021
Details
Leave Us Alone! - Dealing with Urgent Interruptions in Agile Teams
Online - Instructor Led
C$149.00
Apr 6
2021
Details
Four Strategic Tips on using Technology and Digital Media Effectively - Lunch Session
Online
C$0.00
Apr 6
2021
Details
How to Effectively Achieve Work/Life Balance in your Environment - Lunch Session
Online
C$0.00
Apr 7
2021
Details
Team Kanban Practitioner® (TKP) [Virtual Learning]
Online
C$1015.75
Apr 8
2021
Details
Should we just Ban Facebook (and other Social Media) in the Workplace? - Lunch Session
Online
C$0.00
Apr 8
2021
Details
Critical Steps on how to be an Effective Colleague/Manager in the Digital Age - Lunch Session
Online
C$0.00
Apr 9
2021
Details
Leadership Writing Workshop [Virtual Learning]
Online
C$420.75
Apr 12
2021
Details
Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO) [Virtual Learning]
Online
C$1525.75
Apr 13
2021
Details
Leadership Writing Workshop [Virtual Learning]
Online
C$420.75
Apr 14
2021
Details
What the Heck is Kanban? - Introduction to the Kanban Method
Online - Instructor Led
C$149.00
Apr 15
2021
Details
Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM) [Virtual Learning]
Online
C$1355.75
Apr 21
2021
Details
Master Kanban for Scrum - Kanban for Scrum Masters
Online - Instructor Led
C$149.00
Apr 22
2021
Details
Deadlines Are Dead To Me - Dealing with Deadlines in Agile Teams
Online - Instructor Led
C$149.00
Apr 22
2021
Details
Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner® (A-CSPO) [Virtual Learning]
Online
C$1440.75
Apr 27
2021
Details
Kanban Your Projects - Kanban for Project Managers
Online - Instructor Led
C$149.00
Apr 27
2021
Details
Advanced Certified ScrumMaster® (A-CSM) [Virtual Learning]
Online
C$1440.75
Apr 29
2021
Details
Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM) [Virtual Training]
Online
C$1355.75
May 3
2021
Details
Team Kanban Practitioner® (TKP) [Virtual Learning]
Online
C$1015.75
May 5
2021
Details
What the Heck is Kanban? - Introduction to the Kanban Method
Online - Instructor Led
C$149.00
May 6
2021
Details
Leave Us Alone! - Dealing with Urgent Interruptions in Agile Teams
Online - Instructor Led
C$149.00
May 6
2021
Details
Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO) [Virtual Learning]
Online
C$1525.75
May 6
2021
Details
Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM) [Virtual Training]
Online
C$1355.75
May 18
2021
Details
Kanban System Design® (KMP I) [Virtual Learning]
Online
C$1525.75
May 18
2021
Details
Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO) [Virtual Learning]
Online
C$1525.75
May 25
2021
Details
Advanced Certified ScrumMaster® (A-CSM) [Virtual Learning]
Online
C$1440.75
May 27
2021
Details
Kanban Systems Improvement® (KMP II) [Virtual Learning]
Online
C$1525.75
Jun 1
2021
Details