I sat in on the Sprint Planning meeting with some of my developers today. It was time boxed for 4 hours to do higher level estimates, select the backlog items for the Sprint and agree to commit to them. The second meeting will be Monday for 4 hours where the tasks are broken down into 4-16 hour chunks so everything can be planned out in more detail.
As it turned out the meeting only went 1.5 hours which is one of the advantages of time boxing. We already saved 2.5 hours today. Walking back for lunch I saw the QA tester for the project. He explained:
“Heh, I like this whole Agile thing. Nobody hides the fact that we’re just making things up with the estimates at this point.”
It is really nice to agree to be honest about these things. And after the first Sprint the estimates should get better since we have actual experience to work from. It’s nice to be free to admit we have an empirical process instead of something that can be tracked in minute detail on a Gantt chart.