Mitch Lacey's Estimation Game Template

Estimate and prioritize work tasks.

Mitch Lacey’s Estimation Game is a framework for thinking about and prioritizing work tasks. You can rank tasks by size and priority in order to determine the order in which you should do them. Height determines priority, items that appear at the top of the board should be prioritized. To learn more about Mitch Lacey and his recommended approach to the Estimation Game, check out his website.

About the Mitch Lacey’s Estimation Game template

What is Mitch Lacey’s Estimation Game?

First introduced in the book The Scrum Field Guide: Practical Advice for your First Year, Mitch Lacey’s Estimation Game is designed to help teams prioritize tasks. The goal of the “game” is to assign priorities to tasks in a project backlog.

In the game, notecards are used to represent work items. The higher a card is in the stack, the higher the priority. Cards near the bottom are lower priority. You can assign priorities based on ROI, business value, or whatever other metrics your team agrees on. Work with your team to organize the cards and discuss their value with stakeholders.

Once you have done so, the quadrants in which you place the cards can help you figure out when to take care of a given task. Tasks in the top-left quadrant are small and high priority. They will end up at the top of your backlog. The tasks in the top-right corner are large and high priority. You will end up breaking most of those tasks into smaller goals. Discuss the placement of the cards with your team and assign responsibilities accordingly.

Where did Mitch Lacey’s Estimation Game come from?

This template is based on Mitch Lacey’s Estimation Game as outlined in his book, The Scrum Field Guide: Practical Advice for Your First Year.

How do you use the Mitch Lacey’s Estimation Game template?

Each user story or work task should get a sticky note. Height determines priority, so any high-priority task (whether it’s because of ROI, business value, or some other factor), should be placed at the top of the board. Width indicates complexity, so items on the left are smaller or easier, items on the right are bigger or more complex. Teammates can discuss the placement of stories and agree on their final positions on the board. When you’re finished, you can follow the board in clockwise order to see how tasks should be prioritized.

When should you use the Estimation Game?

Use the Estimation Game to work through your product backlog. The game is a great way for developers and product management teams to work together and collaborate effectively. Whenever you have a large backlog and your team is feeling overwhelmed, you can redo the game or refer to past iterations for guidance.

Easy to use

Easy to use

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Built-in collaboration

Built-in collaboration

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