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Using Pointing Poker for Distributed Agile Teams

Involving everyone on a distributed team

17 May 2016

Frode Helgesen
Capgemini & Statoil

One of our Agile teams includes developers who are working in three different locations. To collaborate with these distributed members, we have been using Pointing Poker®, which is a free tool designed to help Agile and Scrum development teams set their sprint goals through collaborative planning and consensus-based estimations. We like the tool and thought it could be useful for other distributed teams.

Getting started

Here are some high-level steps to get you started with Pointing Poker:
  1. Have one team member go to Pointing Poker at and select Start a session.
  2. After a unique session ID is created, the team member enters his or her name and selects Join session.
  3. The team member shares the link with the remaining team members, and as soon as everybody has arrived, you can start your online Poker Planning session.
  4. Everyone can see when other team members have shared their vote, but the actual numbers are not displayed until everyone has entered his or her vote or someone selects Show votes.
  5. Between each round, select Clear votes.
The tool retains the voting history for the current session so that you can view the details later.

Tips and tricks

  • If some members in the session are only observing, they can also enter the game simply as observers.
  • By default, observers do not see the Clear votes and Show votes buttons. You can change this setting by selecting General options from the Start page.
  • If the estimates or story points do not fit your team’s scale, you can set your own by selecting Point values from the Start page.
  • We have experienced losing connectivity a couple of times, but a refresh and joining again has always solved this problem.
This tool has helped our distributed teams communicate, and I hope it might help yours as well.

Opinions represent those of the author and not of Scrum Alliance. The sharing of member-contributed content on this site does not imply endorsement of specific Scrum methods or practices beyond those taught by Scrum Alliance Certified Trainers and Coaches.

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