Steve Fenton

Planning cards metaphor for quality

Playing CardsI rather enjoyed discovering a metaphor about quality, born out of the planning game itself!

Like many teams, the team uses playing cards to size stories, with sets of cards in the sequence 1, 2, 3, 5, 8. Anything bigger than an 8 is too big. The cards get handed out at the start of the planning game and then put back into a box at the end to wait for next time.

This is all rather unremarkable. Except this happened… Last time the planning game was completed, the cards got dumped back in the box with no thought about keeping them tidy. As a result, the first few minutes of the current planning game were wasted on trying to sort cards into the normal sets.

“You can only go fast if you go right!” – Uncle Bob

What a great (and largely inexpensive) demonstration of Uncle Bob’s quote. Going fast without going right costs you later – sometimes not all that far into the future either. And there was the evidence right in front of us. Leave yourself a mess and you’ll have to pay later – the cards were all in order in sets before the meeting finished, so it was just the messy way they were put in the box for next time that cost the time in the next meeting.

Maybe today we’ll put them back right, so the next planning game can start faster.

Written by Steve Fenton on