Raise Your Fist in the Air

Bart has been in ecommerce for over 20 years, and can't imagine a better job to have. He is interested in all things agile, or anything new to learn.

At the end of each sprint planning, teams are asked to “commit” to every story in the sprint, and the vote needs to be unanimous. Not only is the vote expected to represent full agreement, it is also binary; either the team commits or they don’t. This kind of voting can be hard for the team, as team members will have varying degrees of consensus that depend upon many, often disparate, factors. “Fist of Five” voting is one popular way to drive the team towards closure on this important process.

One of the important features of the Agile methodology is how it focuses on making very complicated operations as simple as possible. User Stories are simpler than full requirements documents, story points are simpler than full effort estimates, and everyone’s life is made easier by having an empowered product owner who can make every necessary decision with regards to prioritization or clarification. One of the important factors in the process is getting the team to agree to a plan, and then do everything in their power to achieve that plan. However, the literature is silent on how to actually get that consensus. Enter the “Fist of Five.”

Agile, and in particular scrum, requires a lot of voting, and requires everyone on the team expresses their opinions. The voting is usually simple enough that a small deck of cards, smartphone app, …

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"If God had meant for us to be naked, we'd have been born that way."

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