Agile Methods : T-Shirt Estimation Sizing Exercise

How Big is it?  How long will it take?  When will it be ready? 

A common challenge that teams face is the question how long will it take?

When we’re working on something new and different, it can be really really hard to answer that question because we’re not entirely clear what we’re doing, or how we’re going to do things, how long it’s going to take.

So I really love agile methods t-shirt estimation as a really simple and quick tool, really helps make decisions and help with that estimation and planning and agree the size of things.

If you ask somebody how long will something take they’ll often stop and think for quite a while before they might come up with a number if they if they if they’re happy to commit to an exact number, but more and often than not people tend to kind of stammer and um and arr about it a little bit.   

However, if you ask them you know how big would it be if it was a t-shirt?

Is it an extra small, a small, medium, large, extra large???

Then people tend to be able to come back with a reply quite quickly, it’ll just be a small or, it’s an extra extra extra large!

Agile Methods - Estimation - TShirt Sizes Tool

Agile Methods : T-Shirt Estimation

So you can get a real sense of size, and when we’ve got a sense of size, if we put that together with complexity in terms of what we know, how clear we are, what we’re doing and how we’re going to do things, then we can start to understand how long that might take.

What How Complexity Matrix  - Being Agile

Agile Methods – T-Shirt Estimation & Complexity Mapping

It’s a really good step, it’s really good conversation starter to get understanding, make sure they’re in agreement on actually what’s involved and because sometimes something that feels like it would be an extra small actually is a large so it really helps to get that conversation going.

T-shirt estimation sizing is a really great little agile methods estimation and planning tool I really highly recommend using within your team and with your customers and partners when working together!

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