High-Stakes Planning Poker – What to do when you have 50 P1 projects

Full Name(s): 
Justin Doyle
Justin Doyle is an Agile Coach at Discovery Vitality. Joining the company in 2012 as a Scrum Master and later moving into a coaching role, he has worked to drive the adoption of Agile across the division. He first encountered agile during his time with Kaizania I.T. Services, initially working on agile projects as a web developer, but later moved into the role of Agile Project Manager and ultimately Chief Technology Officer. In an era of constant innovation Justin firmly believes that organisations need to have the flexibility to approach problems creatively in order to deliver better solutions. This is where his passion for agile first started: by getting business and systems teams to work closely together in a transparent and open environment, both sides can better understand the needs, requirements, risks and complexities of the other, helping them to stay focused on the primary goal of delivering value.
Planning and prioritisation of work at the portfolio level can be tricky business. Faced with a roomful of high-powered executives, each with their own opinions and agendas, things can quickly go south when asking a seemingly simple question: Which of these is most important? To help avoid getting bogged down in lengthy discussions we decided to experiment with Donald Reinertsen’s Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF) prioritisation, and relative sizing techniques similar to the well-known Planning Poker used by many Agile teams. The result? Quite incredible! Focused, productive prioritisation sessions, with execs presenting, questioning and voting on each other’s initiatives in a fair and objective fashion, resulting in clear prioritisation of what the organisation should tackle next. In this talk we will provide the context facing the organisation in prioritising at a portfolio level, including feedback from previous approaches used. We will then share the relative sizing approach we followed instead and discuss the benefits realised, both from the immediate application as well as broader organisational uptake of the technique.
Learning outcomes: 
Understand the the context facing the organisation in prioritising at a portfolio level | Learn how to apply WSJF prioritisation and relative sizing techniques to planning and prioritisation at the Portfolio level | Understand the benefits of using a objective prioritisation technique to create consensus across multiple stakeholders
Audience Level: 
Pre-requisite knowledge: 
Pre-requisite knowledge of relative sizing, Planning Poker and story point estimation using a modified Fibonacci scale.
Session Type: 
Process at Scale
Portfolio prioritisation
Planning Poker
Relative sizing