How Wideband Delphi Works to Estimate Software Projects

12 April, 2017

#WhyShaiWhy [Videos] Agile Scrum

Wideband Delphi is a software project estimating technique that completely revolutionizes how you estimate! But why is it so useful and how was it developed?

During the Cold War, The RAND Corporation was charged with investigating a methodology to approximate the number of people, time, and resources needed to win the Arms Race against the Soviet Union. Great little piece of history, right? And it’s got a LOT to do with how we estimate work in Agile, today!

The Delphi Method vs Wideband Delphi

The RAND Corporation did deep research on the best estimation techniques and created the nucleus of what we use in Planning Poker with Scrum teams the world-over: the Delphi Method.

The Delphi Method for estimating involves a panel of experts who provide anonymous responses to a request for an estimate. A facilitator collates and reports back on their responses, and continues requesting estimates until the experts give a consensus.

Our modern version, however, added the ‘Wideband’ portion of the estimation technique. Wideband means we allow participants to talk to each other and discuss ideas face-to-face before re-trying an estimation hand.

The Three Benefits of Wideband Delphi

Planning Poker Makes Wideband Delphi Easy

Planning Poker might seem a little novel at first, but this simple game actually encompasses many deeply researched factors that allow an estimate to be as accurate as possible.

When done well, Planning Poker gets results because it follows the Wideband Delphi method.

  1. It allows your team members to have a say without being influenced by others in the team
    (Think about how a senior developer’s estimate would subtly influence the junior developer next in line to show their estimate.)
  2. It gives your team a target or goal to work towards without too much planning-fatigue
  3. It allows your team to show progress and report to those who are relying on you to deliver


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