Agile Planning – Using Fibonacci Numbers

I am a fan of task estimation using relative complexity with relative complexity being ranked according to the Fibonacci numbers 1, 2, 3, and 5. I was working on providing some guidelines on how each rank relates to each to aid in moving through developer task estimations early in a project. Here’s what I came up with. I’m interested in your thoughts.

1 – Baseline

This is the least complex task in an
iteration. There are no unknown elements or impediments expected during
the implementation of this task.

2 – Average

The complexity of this task is slightly
more than that of a baseline-ranked (1) task. It is expected that there
is little to nothing unknown about how to implement this task but it is
slightly more complex to implement than that of the
baseline-ranked task.

3 – Challenging

The complexity of this task is high.
There are a number of unknown elements involved in implementing this
task but there is a rough idea as to how to implement it.

5 – Behemoth

The complexity involved in
implementing this task is difficult to estimate. It is likely that this
task should be broken down into smaller, more easily estimated, tasks.
Completion of this task may require further investigation, possibly in
the form of
the implementation of a time-boxed prototype to discover an appropriate method of implementation.

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3 thoughts on “Agile Planning – Using Fibonacci Numbers

  1. This sounds like a good approach and similar to what I know others use in Agile-esque plannign and estimation. Would this require each dev and the TL to provide an estimate and an average of all be used on the plan? If so, it sounds like a fair approach.

  2. Would like to hear more about how you are using this on a team actually… how it would ( and should ) work..

  3. 5x1llz: How they are used are as estimates of relative complexity for the tasks to complete a story. How a team determines them is up to the team. What I mean is that they can decide that they like to take the median or modal average, they may want to have discussions around estimate outliers when there isn’t consensus to come up with an agreed estimate. I’ll put an upcoming post together with how it is envisioned to work.

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