Planning Poker

I'm reading Mike Cohn's Agile Estimating and Planning (amazon.com amazon.co.uk); so far, a great book. Jim Highsmith's foreword is well worth reading.

On the chapter of techniques for estimating, Cohn describes Planning Poker, something that feels so simple and effective that you almost have to run to join your team and give it a try. You can read the description at http://www.planningpoker.com/detail.html. The site hosts a tool to enable distributed teams to play Planning Poker. Disclaimer: I still haven't played poker nor checked the tool.

One the nice things of Planning Poker is that it is not tied at all to software development: projects from other domains that have to be sized by guestimates (like writing a complex report) fit nicely in this approach.