Using Zoom polls for planning poker in Agile teams

Planning poker cards
Planning Poker cards from Mountain Goat Software

A couple of years ago, I wrote a post about using planning poker in Agile teams, for estimating user story size. But that was when we were all sitting in the same room and not shielding from Covid-19.

Things have changed now. Here are a few options that I’ve tried.

PlanITpoker

My favourite dedicated planning poker tool is PlanITpoker. You don’t even need an account, you can use their “start a quick play” feature. The user interface is clean and intuitive.

Screenshot of Plan It Poker, showing cards with values from zero to one hundred.
I like the clean interface in this version

What is nice is that you can prepare for the meeting beforehand by entering the user story IDs and PlanITpoker will remember the votes for each story.

Zoom

This one I discovered quite by accident: Zoom has a built-in polls feature.

Simply create a question with your story point values as options. You can use Planning poker, Fibonacci, t-shirt sizes, etc… whatever works for your team.

Poll with options from zero to twenty.
Zoom poll with Planning Poker values

Start the poll, then when everyone is done, show them the results:

Sharing poll results show two votes for three points and three votes for five points.
The results

This is useful for any ad hoc estimates that need to be worked on without needing to spin up a larger, more dedicated planning poker application.

What resources do you find most useful?

Published by

Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 49 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert (INFP), I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, play mahjong, write, draw and laugh… Scrum master. Latterly, web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and former warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.

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