Book review: Estimating in Agile

estimating_pocketbook_front_coverIn some of my previous posts I wrote about DSDM and UX design, Agile risk management and DSDM and Agile Project Management and Scrum. This is another little book in the same style. And this booklet too can be read as an addendum to DSDM’s Agile Project Management Framework or separately to enlarge your knowledge about estimating in agile.

Mairi Osborne and Barbara Roberts are the authors of the book ‘Estimating in Agile‘.

Different estimating techniques as story points, velocity and T-shirt sizing as well as estimating practices to estimate story points with planning poker and by using affinity. Estimation of velocity by using commitment-based planning (60% of the User Stories are must haves and state the guaranteed minimum usable subset), task breakdown, T-shirt sizing or three-point estimating.

Four estimation principles are explained and explored:

  • Know the purpose: estimate usage, level of detail, time spend
  • Validate the estimate: collaborate, use more than one technique, learn from experience
  • Expect change and uncertainty: risk and contingency, unknowns and assumptions
  • Take ownership: collaborative estimating, business risk

A brief part of the book describes when estimates are required and for what purposes during the DSDM Agile Project Framework life cycle.

The last part shows that estimating, planning and project control are iterative and closely linked activities. The burndown chart, showing the MoSCow (3 lines representing M, S and C) burning down hours against tasks, gives a good insight if it is still feasible to deliver the guaranteed minimum usable subset or if you can deliver more.


This book shows that estimating in an agile context is much more than using planning poker. Understanding the four estimation principles and use the practical advices offered will give you a good starting point when you start estimating.

To order: Estimating in Agile

2 responses to “Book review: Estimating in Agile

  1. Pingback: New PM Articles for the Week of October 3 – 9 - The Practicing IT Project Manager

  2. Pingback: Overview of my year 2016 book reviews | Henny Portman's Blog

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