T-shirt estimating cards

This article is part of my online newsletter called the Scrum Addendum. If you enjoyed this article you should signup for the complete series.

My T-shirt estimating cards have been very popular and although I love handing them out, they’re also quite expensive. A full 50% of the cost of the cards is shipping from the printer in China, and if I then send them to Europe or North America postage is paid twice. I understand that not everyone is willing to pay for this postage, and to make T-Shirt cards more available, I’ve created a document (as a pdf) which you can print using a home or office printer. The document is layer out for US Letter but it still prints out perfectly fine on A4 … I know this, because that’s exactly what I do.

I’ve also written a short introduction explaining the origins of Estimating Poker, how to use the cards, and some common variations that teams will often adopt. Here’s an excerpt of the introduction.

Estimating poker is a technique often used by Agile and Scrum teams to estimate work. At it’s heart estimating poker is a simple process of collaborative estimating which teams do on a regular basis.

Estimating poker is a variant of Wide Band Delphi, an estimating approach described by Barry Boehm in his book ‘Software engineering economics”, 1981. And, which was based on the Delphi method an estimating technique originating from the Rand group during the 1950’s. Here’s a brief description of the Delphi method: Have a group of subject matter experts independently estimate a given problem. Bring the experts together to discuss their results, and differences. Have them go away and then independently re-estimate the problem. Repeat this process until agreement is reached or you are satisfied with the result.

Wide Band Delphi is this simple approach applied to a wide band scale. The modern roots for planning poker come from James Grenning’s description of it in his paper, “Planning Poker or How to avoid analysis paralysis while release planning.

But wait! There’s more!

T-shirts are pretty boring … won’t it be more fun to have a beer sizes, martian weapons sizes, or zombie weapons sizes? As they say in Texas … “Hell, Yeah!” You can see a sample of these in the images below. I’ve wrapped up all these variations (T-Shirts sizes, Beer sizes, Zombie weapon sizes and Martian weapon sizes) into a size zip file that can be downloaded from the store.

And the original T-Shirt size cards are still available.

If you’d like a more professional deck of T-shirt estimating cards, my original T-shirt estimating cards are still available. Printed on robust card stock, each deck has enough for a 9 person team so you’ll only need one deck per team.

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