CEO Game

While Planning Poker can help you bring up the conversation for user stories, it’s not really the most effective way of estimating those. In Planning Poker, participants vote for an item estimate using specially-numbered playing cards. Voting is done again and again until all votes are the same. This process is certainly time-consuming, but there’s a better way to arrive at an estimate of an item. Challenge, Estimate or Override or the CEO game is a more effective estimation method and is suitable for agile environments. You can use the CEO game to lessen the amount of time spent on estimation of user story and focus more on collaboration. Here’s how to do the CEO game.
• Print out user stories as cards.
• Gather everyone around a long table.
• The top of the table should show stories that are estimated the biggest and the bottom of the table should display stories that are projected the smallest.
• Every participant should read a card and estimate it by putting it on the table. The lower the cards are placed, the smaller they are. This step is called Estimate. Get a card that’s already placed on the table and move it on the same table. This stage is referred to as Override. Take a card and challenge the participant who placed it on the table on their estimate. This step is called Challenge. It is the participant’s responsibility to argue on his estimate and then correct it.
• Participants should take turn following the rules stated above until there’s no card to put on the table.
• When there’s no longer any card to place on the table, participants can get one last chance to play the CEO game if they want.
What to Remember When Playing the CEO Game
The Challenge option can only be used once every 2 turns. This option is most beneficial when a participant doesn’t agree with the estimate and he doesn’t know who made the estimation. You can also ask the members of the group to stand during the entire process. If you don’t do this, they may lean and be inactive when placing the cards.
Once the exercise is completed, Fibonacci numbers can be assigned to the user stories if desired. Fibonacci numbers can start with 1 and 2 and followed by the sum of the 2 previous numbers. For instance, it can go like this – 1, 2, 3, 5 and so on. 2+1 is equal to 3 and 5 + 3 is equal to 8.
Participants can also choose to only Override or Challenge two times, so they don’t get overwhelmed and they can choose their battles. You now have a list of user stories estimated within a shorter period of time. If you’re using an electronic board, try to use a projector if some participants don’t agree with the terms of user stories and you’d like to see them. Any concerns or questions about a user story can be explained by discussing it more carefully.

— Slimane Zouggari