Best Agile Estimation Techniques for Rapid Software Development

Author Name
  • By Ranjit Singh
  • |
  • clock 10 minutes MIN READ
  • |
  • calendar Updated: June 10, 2022

According to various surveys, up to 75% of software initiatives are likely to fail. This is due in large part to the difficulties of projecting cost and scope in software development. Humans are bad at forecasting absolute outcomes, despite their efforts. This is because the analytical domain of humans is subjective and depends upon a lot of factors. There is no such thing as “correct assessment,” which is an oxymoron. In this case, agile estimation techniques come in handy.

Every software development project necessitates the use of estimates. Without any type of estimation, it is difficult to anticipate a return on investment, understand time to market, or allocate critical resources. But, if estimates are always inaccurate, as they are, and we believe it is pointless to strive for perfection, as we do, how can we achieve the predictability required for project success?

Agile estimates are like any other aspect of software development: If we do not know whether what we’re doing is worth it, we should not do it. This will either result in gaining time by ceasing to perform something that is no longer contributing value to our lives, or will result in someone exposing the exact value of what we stopped doing.

What is agile estimation?

The agile estimate is a technique for estimating how long a high-priority item on the product backlog will take to complete. This effort is typically measured in terms of how long it will take to finish the task, allowing for more precise sprint planning. Agile estimating and planning are needed for a detailed look at how a company works when it comes to time.

Agile estimating assists in the proper planning, management, and estimation of all activities necessary to produce, test, and deliver the desired product to customers within the timeframes stated. The importance of a well-prepared preliminary evaluation cannot be overstated.

A more convenient statement

The agile movement is primarily concerned with a psychological and cultural shift.

We may use Agile to reflect on our previous efforts and make course changes as needed.

How might agile approaches assist me in remembering what I accomplished the day before? What am I planning for today? And what is the most effective method for removing the stumbling block?

Ascertain that your design is sound and that your staff is focused on growth rather than limitation.

How can we work together more effectively to increase self-motivation and achievement?

How can I ask open-ended questions and engage in open dialogue?

How can we accept and adapt in the face of change?

What are your priorities, and how do you deal with change?

How can I concentrate on achieving outcomes within the timeframe I’ve set?

What do we mean by agile estimation techniques?

Agile estimation techniques are precisely what they sound like: estimates for a given project. In agile estimates, narrative points are used instead of time. An “agile estimate” is a measurable estimate of the time and effort necessary to finish a development project.

In agile estimation, simple estimation techniques based on relative estimation are utilized. Rather than estimating jobs or user stories separately and in absolute time units, it requires comparing or combining aspects of comparable complexity.

Creating value, achieving incremental results, and constantly refining our approach are all important aspects of agile approaches.

Why is Agile Estimation Required?

Agile estimation techniques are a must-have requirement for development companies so that they do not waste time on certain projects. Time is money, and time is an all-time high-value asset for companies. Estimation techniques help in having an analysis to estimate the time it will take to finish a high-priority item on the product backlog.

Agile estimating and planning acknowledge and welcome the degree of uncertainty in a project rather than attempting to provide an accurate estimate.

A classic project management estimate could make assumptions and come up with a near estimate to try to resolve ambiguity.

Different Stages of Agile Estimation

Like any other piece of work, the deployment and proper execution of the process need to be done under some simple steps so that every stage is unambiguous and overlays a good foundation for the work.

Similarly, agile estimation techniques also work at different levels. These are known as the “stages of agile estimation.” The method of estimation works at three different levels.

The three levels in agile estimation techniques are:

Stage 1: Proposal or Project Level

This is done at the proposal or project level in the early phases of a project. When a project is started, the estimation process at an early stage is deployed differently. It is subjective and depends upon the products and services offered by different companies. The item’s subject is the total number of needs in the product backlog item. Function Points are used to estimate the size of the software/project before a thorough description of the functional demand is established.

Stage 2: Delivery Level

The frequency and speed with which bundled features are issued are controlled by the delivery level. The project level estimate is followed by this step. Priority needs are provided by the product backlog, which is organized into User Stories.

During release planning, which focuses on estimating the quantity of product to be delivered for that release, user stories are projected in terms of story points. This may be used to organize the number of releases as well as the overall number of story points in each.

Stage 3: Sprint Level

At the sprint level, tasks related to finishing particular stories are scheduled. Design, analysis, development, test case generation, execution, user acceptability testing, and other tasks are kept distinct from the most important product backlog items.

Estimated hours, or the time necessary to complete a task for a connected user narrative, are used to estimate tasks. To estimate activities, the bottom-up approach is utilized, which divides corporate demands into low-level tasks and assigns projected hours to each.

Estimates define how many user stories the development team may commit to a sprint.

Difference Between Traditional Estimation and Agile Estimation

Starting with an explanation of what agile estimating entails, this is only a rough estimate for every project that we work on. In conventional calculations, some agile estimations use story points instead of time. Rather than providing a project time estimate, story points are awarded as a measure of relative effort. This helps the team estimate the number of other jobs they’ll have to do at the same time, as well as their capabilities for each task. Rather than time efficiency, story points are utilized to grade problem-solving skills.

Traditional estimating procedures, on the other hand, are built from the ground up. This implies that teams assess each project component, estimate how long it will take to finish it in hours or days, and then utilize that data to create a project schedule.

A “top-down” strategy is used in agile estimation approaches. This encourages teams to make broad estimates of how long a project will take or how much effort it will require. Then it is dismantled and used for other elements of the project. Teams go deeper into those qualities, revealing more and more data until they reach the task level, which is viewed from a just-in-time perspective.

What are the different techniques in the method of estimation?

Agile estimation methods spread their wide wings to grab every possible opportunity for agile estimation techniques.

Here’s a list of eight distinct agile estimating strategies for various scenarios:

1. Three-Point Estimate

Three-point estimating is a management strategy for predicting the likely outcomes of future events using current data. The best-case scenario, the most likely situation, and the worst-case scenario are all taken into account.

2. Planning Poker

Planning poker is a fantastic technique to quickly raise a large amount of money for a limited number of products. Each team member receives a deck of specially numbered cards to analyze the item’s criteria before anonymously submitting their best estimate. The discussion will go on until a decision is made. This method works effectively for groups of up to eight people who have fewer than ten jobs to complete.

3. Affinity Grouping

Other estimation methodologies like planning poker, or strategies like bucket system, may help you reach an agreement on modest projects. Affinity estimation may be a great strategy to use if a project is just getting initiated and the backlog hasn’t been assessed yet, or if you’re about to schedule releases. This technique is helpful when the team and the number of players are small.

4. T-Shirt Dimensions

T-shirts are available in five sizes: XS, S, M, L, and XL. After the estimate, the sizes may be provided in numerical form if necessary. This is a basic and quick method of sorting a large number of items. The bulk of size choices are determined by open, collaborative debate, with votes utilized only in extraordinary circumstances to break an impasse.

5. Buckets

This strategy has once again been demonstrated to be faster and more successful for huge projects. The team utilizes actual buckets or baskets in the same way that planned poker employs actual buckets or baskets in the same order. The team divides the bucket contents into time-value buckets. If there are disagreements among the teams’ judgments, the arguments will resurface.

6. Dot Voting

All of the user tales, as well as their descriptions, are included on the board under the Dot Voting technique. Each participant is given a dot to place next to the tale that meant the most to them. The stories are presented in this sequence due to their relevance. This is done to see which of the most important stories should be investigated further.

7. Random Distribution

It is a haphazard distribution. This method, often known as an ordering technique, arranges elements in decreasing order from low to high. Everyone takes a turn moving an item one position up or down, debating an item, or passing. Once everyone has completed their turn, the treatment will be completed.

8. Large, Small, and Uncertain

The Bucket System is narrowed down to three options: High Priority, Low Priority, and Uncertainty. The first stage is to divide the agile tales into two categories: large and small, with the more complicated possibilities going into the “uncertain” group. It can be categorized as the “uncertain” pile of articles as either high priority or low priority after further inspection and debate.

Agile estimating and planning

Agile estimating and planning is a new, flexible way of planning future projects and adjusting to changing needs without wasting resources. Agile planning focuses on simple concerns like what needs to be developed, when it will be completed, how much it will cost, and who should be involved, among other things. Project managers examine hidden dependencies for various activities to decrease idle time and enhance delivery time.

By measuring the team’s pace and efficiency, agile planning focuses on establishing when an agile team can translate user stories into procedures, production-ready software, and high-quality product delivery. The ultimate goal of agile planning is to have a clear picture of the project’s vision, production path, and commercial interests.


Owing to the challenges involved in the estimation of cost and scope of a project, up to 75% of software projects are predicted to fail. Agile estimates are no different from any other part of software development. We shouldn’t undertake it if we’re not sure what we’re doing is worthwhile.

Instead of time, narrative points are employed in agile estimation to help in the creation of a time estimate for completing a high-priority item in the product backlog.

Estimation techniques in the traditional sense are constructed from the ground up. Agile estimating enables teams to make educated guesses about how long a project will take or how much labor it will demand.

Time is money. Time is also a high-value asset for businesses at all times. Stages in agile estimation techniques try to clarify uncertainties. A traditional project management estimation technique, on the other hand, would make assumptions to come up with a close estimate.

Entrepreneurship Offer:

Flat 50% off

Across App Development Services

Want to discuss your idea?

Hi I am Ryan, a Business Consultant at
RV Technologies. We are excited to hear
about your project.


Drop us a line and we will connect
you to our experts.

Let’s Get Started

We’re here to help you. Fill the form below and we will get you in touch with our experts soon.