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I heard a case where two teams are planning each others' sprints (estmating stories and deciding what goes into the sprint). The stated benefit is to solve one of the two team's problem with not finishing their stories within the sprint.

The concept seems strange to me and I'm curious about hearing opinions on this approach and any possible benefits from it?

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    That makes no sense. – Euphoric Feb 24 at 20:02
  • I am aware of that, I wanted to make sure there isn't any other opinions out there that disagrees with that fact – Hmartin Feb 24 at 20:05
  • You could as well roll dice... management may think they hired a great diceroller, but it won't solve the problem. – nvoigt Feb 25 at 9:13
  • Presumably the "logic" is that by removing the personal aspect from it, a team is less likely to underestimate it. But the cost in terms of losing feedback, insights, etc, would greatly out weight any benefit – matt freake Feb 25 at 11:03
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This sounds like management outsourced their micro-management.

Even in a fully cross-functional team sprint planning is deeply personal. Not only because my skill set is personal but because my commitment to time estimates/scope of work is personal.

Show me some other teams estimates and I'll close my eyes. I don't even want to know until I've reasoned through what my team can do.

I'd welcome this data in a retrospective when we're trying to improve the process. Just as I welcome the discussion about differing point bids. But I completely reject it as directly useful work. I simply have to do this myself or I'm flat out lying when I commit to being done in a sprint.

If you do this, you don't really have two teams. You have one team. Half of which never meets with the other half.

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By having another team estimate, they are going to lose a large number of the benefits of estimating it themselves. For example, a lot of understanding of the work to be done comes out in estimation. They won't have this.

If they are getting the benefit of meeting their sprint goals, I'd encourage them to look into why it is different and what actions they could take to go back to estimating their work and be able to finish the sprint successfully from what they've learned with the other team.

Another common solution to the same problem is to just take in one backlog item at a time.

  • Thanks Daniel, do you see the need for this reverse planning situation to be repeated multiple times? – Hmartin Feb 24 at 20:46
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As aforementioned it makes no sense at all, a team must decide its own sprint as it’s usually a contract signed by team members to deliver what they think they can do in that sprint. They’re the only ones who know what can be done and what makes sense to be done as they know how their tasks interact and link and so they can be estimated.

I know that pure scrum is rarely used, but if someone else is going to estimate the tasks for the team members, please don’t call it agile, call it traditional Project Managing with a Scrum coating, which definitely makes it look cool.

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