Planning poker - Better async & sync team collaboration

How planning poker can fix asynchronous collaboration in your Agile team, offering insights on leveraging this technique for more efficient estimation.

Dec 22, 2023 · 4 min read

Interface - Planning poker,2024: Full interface

A few days ago we released the new version of the planning poker meeting interface. What we wanted to achieve with the new version was more focus on the task at hand and a better overview of what's going on in the interface, and what everyone has contributed.

The new interface has two separate areas, each with its own role:

  • The Tasks list area, where the team can see all the tasks being estimated and their state.

  • The selected task area, where the team can see in more detail the selected task and work on estimating that task alone.

With this separation, you can easily check both the estimated tasks - scrolling through the list - while keeping your focus on the selected task. Additionally, you and the team can get more valuable information in a more spacey environment for the selected task.

Let's see what each area has to offer.

The Tasks list area

The tasks list view, showing three tasks, two of which are voted, one is selected and highlighted with one member avatar on it, and the third one displays votes text, votes progress and a different member avatar that is previewing it

We tried keeping the quick overview for each task that was available in the previous version but cleared out some of the clutter in favor of speed and navigation.

So for each task in the list you can see:

  • Voting status, showcasing how many members have voted and if you are one of them.

  • Voting progress, with a progress bar to display whether all or most of the team has already cast a vote

  • Average vote, for all complete tasks that the team has voted and the results are visible

  • Avatars that currently focus on the specific task, in case of team members being simultaneously in the planning poker meeting.

With these indicators in place, you can get a quick glimpse of what's going on regardless if your team has a synchronous or asynchronous estimation session.

The Selected task area

A task for voting showing the task title, helping questions to get ready for estimation, the list of members that can vote, the planning poker cards, action buttons to show results and focus team on task, and a list of tasks with similar votes

For the selected task you can see a lot more information and guidance in a more structured way.

For tasks not yet finalized you can see:

  • A few questions to help the team define better what's needed for the task estimation.

  • The team members that can vote and their voting status

  • The planning poker cards

  • A new Focus team on task button, that is particularly useful in synchronous meetings to gather everybody in the specific task. Based on our own and the customer's experience, on the previous interface, it was often the case for team members to accidentally vote on other tasks.

  • Voting progress button, to conclude voting

  • The AI-Assist feature displays tasks that you have cast a similar vote in the recent past

Voted task with task title, average vote number, a phrase that the task is estimated large and needs breakdown, info on member votes big difference, a section suggesting breakdown of task, votes by each member, and votes distribution as a bar chart

For voted tasks the interface displays information to assist the team with any next steps, displaying:

  • The average points based on team member votes

  • An informational phrase on whether the estimated value is considered manageable or not

  • An indicator of vote alignment, the closer team members voted to the average the better the team alignment.

  • A section to get assistance from AI-Assist to break down the task into smaller parts, in case the voted average is not considered manageable.

  • The actual votes of each member

  • The vote distribution as a bar

  • Options to focus team on task and revote task if needed.

Apart from these changes, we improved the way you add tasks to your planning poker session. To access that interface, you need to have the right permissions and click on the Add Tasks button on the top left of the Tasks list.

Add tasks of planning poker, buttons for the active integrations -

the Add tasks interface of planning poker, some buttons for the active integrations - "Directly" option is active to type tasks directly -, then the input to add tasks, an addition list which is empty, and two buttons to Close the interface and Add selected tasks that is disabled due to empty addition list

With the revamped Add Tasks interface you can add multiple tasks at once - and most importantly - populate tasks directly from your Jira, Linear, or Asana backlog! This was important feedback that triggered us to the radical change of revamping the whole meeting - thank you for that Dima 🤝!

Linear issues tab selected in Add Tasks with some filters visible for teams and a populated list of results in the Addition list. Each Linear issue in the list has a selected checkbox. At the bottom of the screen is an active

You can navigate to the linked tool of choice using the top bar navigation under the Add Tasks title and search or filter for tickets of interest. Then using the checkboxes next to each task simply de-select or select the ones you want to be imported and click Add selected issues.

That's it for now! With the new planning poker interface in place, we have more things down the line to improve remote team collaboration.

Stay tuned!

Nikos Vasileiou

Author: Nikos Vasileiou

Nikos has been into Engineering Management and Agile coaching roles, working on software development and product design in Team O'clock.

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