How to run the most efficient Asynchronous Planning Poker?


What is Asynchronous planning poker?

Asynchronous Planning Poker is a technique used in Agile project management for estimating the complexity and effort of tasks or user stories. It adapts the traditional Planning Poker technique, allowing team members to give an initial estimate in their own time, asynchronously. This method aims to shorten the duration of subsequent refinement meetings.

When can Asynchronous Planning Poker save time?

Asynchronous Planning Poker is helpful for distributed teams or teams with members in different time zones. It allows members to participate in the estimation process when convenient for members. Teams using this method successfully can shorten the time of their subsequent refinement meetings. To understand how to use the method successfully, read on!

How does it work? When to not use Asynchronous Planning Poker?

When using asynchronous Planning Poker, team members estimate the effort required for each user story individually at their convenience. Once all team members have given their estimates, a subsequent refinement meeting lets them clarify questions, refine the stories, and decide on an estimate.

Pros This approach aims to reduce the time required for the refinement meeting while keeping the process collaborative, where discussion involving the whole team is used when needed.

Cons This approach depends on the user stories to be well-prepared. When team members have questions, they will struggle to give estimates. If this is often the case, teams who attempt to clarify questions in writing might spend more time than when running regular Planning Poker. To overcome this, stories need to be ready. Check out the link below to learn more.

In summary, Asynchronous Planning Poker might not work well for you if:

  • your backlog is ill-prepared for Planning (Check out Definition of Ready for help on this)
  • your team frequently forgets to give estimates beforehand

How to run Asynchronous Planning Poker efficiently?

Before the refinement meeting

  1. Product Owner - Prepares the backlog so the stories are Ready for Sprint Planning
  2. Product Owner - Notifies the team

The first X stories on our backlog are Ready for refinement. Please review and give your estimate and feedback before our meeting

  1. Product Owner - Answer questions

During the refinement meeting

  1. Scrum master - Verify all estimates are in place
EstimatedBy field can now viewed in the Jira Backlog when configured correctly

The team must provide estimates beforehand, or everyone's time reviewing the stories and estimating before the meeting is wasted. In Smart Guess, this information is readily available in the Jira Backlog by adding the "Estimated By" custom field to the Card Layout. Check out the following post on how this is set up: See who has given an estimate immediately when looking at your backlog.

  1. Review each story together - When all estimates are in place, one click to share estimates - will bring up the following screen
  • Share estimates with the team
  • Discuss the differences
  • Refine the story, define what you will do / not do
  • Re-Estimate if needed
  • Decide on the estimate
  1. Repeat until all stores have been refined

"The most efficient App for Asynchronous estimates"

Frederik Schottey, Founder & CEO at, said in a review that Smart Guess was:

"The most efficient app we could find for doing asynchronous estimations. While other apps send you off to specific 'estimation' pages, Smart Guess allows you to do the entire estimation process right from the issue. Making the entire estimation process lightweight & intuitive, not yet another task team members have to complete."

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