Cool Estimation Overview

Cool Estimation is a tool for Teams and groups of people to use when they need to estimate different things concerning deliverables. In Agile and Scrum contexts such deliverables are typically called Product Backlog Items or Stories. We will use the term Story here.
Different properties can be estimated for a Story:

  • Effort – How much work does the Team expect there is, the size of the work. Typically measured in relative units (Story Points) based on comparison with reference Stories; it can also be in hours or days (absolute units).
  • Cost – Amount of money that the Team expects to be spent on this Story
  • Value – How much value do the Stakeholders attribute to this Story. Typically measured in relative units (Value Points) based on comparison with reference Stories; it can also be in absolute money terms (absolute units).
  • Complexity – The Team makes an assessment of what domain in the Cynefin complexity model, they believe the Story to be in. Typically the Team will compare the actual Story to exemplar stories they have declared to be typical for the domains in question. Complexity can also be used to estimate how well Stakeholders know what they base their value judgment on.

Cool Estimation structure

A User has a Cool Estimation account. He has as a minimum access to one area called a Space. If he has access to more Spaces, he then chooses after login and authentication which one to access.
In a Space the User can create a number of Estimations. An Estimation is a collection of Stories and a number of Estimation Sessions.
Each Story has a Title and Description. A User can input these manually or can import a number of Stories from the clipboard, typically copied from a spreadsheet with two colons: “Title” and “Description” or by uploading an equivalent CSV file.
Each Estimation Session can be one of the four types of Estimation mentioned above. An Estimation Session has a number of Participants (people who will perform the estimation by voting) and a Facilitator, who will guide the process and record the final decision.
Participants can be invited through email or by sharing a link with them. In the first case, the User creates the participants by typing in their name and email address, or by pasting a number of users from the clipboard, typically after having copied from a spreadsheet with two columns: “Name” and “Email”.
An Estimation Session can be in different states: “Not started”, “Active” and “Done”.

A User can “Open” (Enter) an Estimation Session. He can then choose to become the Facilitator or a Participant. If he originally created the Estimation Session, he already was the Facilitator.
A Facilitator in an Estimation Session, can start the Estimation Session, and then start Story Voting. When everyone has voted the Facilitator concludes the voting by recording the decision. He can also restart the voting. He can navigate to other stories and get those estimated as well. When everything is done he can Stop Session.
After the Estimation Session is Done, the results can be inspected and also copied to the clipboard for pasting into a spreadsheet for further processing.
A Participant can join via a link sent in an email, in which case he just enters directly into the Estimation Session. He can also receive a common Session link via chat or similar, when he clicks this link, he has to identify himself and the facilitator has to let him in.
When a Session is Active, a Participant only sees the Story that the Facilitator has navigated to, he cannot navigate himself.

Terminology

    • Story: A deliverable, something to be done that has value to stakeholders
    • Stakeholder: Someone who has an interest in Stories and can have an opinion about
      their values
    • Team: The people who are expected to deliver a Story, who have the
      competencies to analyze, design, implement and verify it.
    • Participant: A Person who participates in an estimation session and will pass his
      judgment in votes and discussions.
    • Facilitator: The Person facilitating the estimation session, moving between the
      Stories in the collection, starting voting and recording the result.
    • User: Anyone who can log in to Cool Estimation and can create Estimations
      and Estimation Sessions including Stories and Participants. A User can
      have access to one or more Spaces.
    • Estimation: A collection of Stories, a User can create a number of Estimation
      Sessions each potentially estimating different properties with different
      groups of people.
    • Session: Or Estimation Session, one particular instance of an estimation
      session, resulting in assessment of one particular property with one
      particular collection of people.
    • Area: One collection of Estimations (Story collection) belonging to minimum
      one User.
    • Story Voting: The process of getting all participants to express their assessment of
      the property of the story in question.
    • Stop Session The facilitator decides to stop the Session and the results can be observed.