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Devops estimation tasks

DevOps and Infrastructure teams often grapple with the challenge of effectively estimating the effort required for tasks in their domain. While Planning Poker has its roots in agile software development, its principles are versatile enough to benefit these teams as well. This article explores how DevOps and Infrastructure teams can utilize Planning Poker for project estimations, supplemented with real-life examples.

1. What is Planning Poker?

Planning poker is a consensus-driven technique that encourages team members to estimate tasks collaboratively using a set of cards. Each card corresponds to a unit of effort (e.g., hours, days, or story points). Team members reveal their selected cards simultaneously, ensuring unbiased estimations. Disparities in estimates are discussed until a consensus is reached.

2. Why Planning Poker for DevOps and Infrastructure?

  • Collaborative Insight: Encourages team members to discuss potential challenges, dependencies, and solutions collaboratively.
  • Bias Elimination: The simultaneous reveal of cards prevents one member’s estimate from influencing others.
  • Refined Accuracy: Collective insights usually lead to more accurate and holistic estimations.

3. How to Use Planning Poker in DevOps and Infrastructure:

Step 1: Assemble the Team
Gather all relevant team members, including system administrators, network engineers, DevOps engineers, and any other relevant stakeholders.

Step 2: Break Down the Tasks
Segment the project into individual tasks, such as server provisioning, CI/CD pipeline setup, network configuration, etc.

Step 3: Initiate the Estimation Round
For every task, team members select a card representing their effort estimation and reveal it simultaneously.

Step 4: Discuss Discrepancies
If there’s a significant variation in the estimates, the team discusses the reasons and re-estimates until consensus is achieved.

Step 5: Record the Consensus Estimate
Once an agreement is reached, record the estimate and proceed to the next task.

4. Real-life Examples of Planning Poker in DevOps and Infrastructure:

Example 1: Cloud Migration Project
A team is tasked with migrating an application to the cloud:

  • Setup of Cloud Infrastructure: Initial estimates range from 2 to 5 days due to considerations of security, redundancy, and scalability. After discussion, the team agrees on 4 days.
  • Data Migration: Estimates vary between 3 and 7 days, considering potential challenges like data integrity and downtime. The consensus is 5 days after a thorough discussion.

Example 2: Implementation of CI/CD Pipeline
A team is setting up a CI/CD pipeline for a new project:

  • Configuration of Build System: Initial estimates are 1, 2, 2, and 3 days. The team decides on 2 days, considering the familiarity with the tools.
  • Integration of Testing Suite: With estimates ranging from 2 to 4 days due to potential complexities, the team settles on 3 days after deliberation.

5. Tips for Effective Planning Poker in DevOps and Infrastructure:

  • Detail is Key: Ensure tasks are clearly defined and broken down into granular components.
  • Encourage Open Dialogue: Team members should freely share their reasons for their estimates, focusing on potential challenges and risks.
  • Establish a Limit: Avoid excessive rounds of re-estimation to prevent fatigue and ensure productivity.
  • Maintain Consistency: Choose a consistent unit of estimation, be it days, hours, or story points, and stick to it throughout the process.


Planning poker is not just a tool for software development teams. Its principles of collaboration, open dialogue, and consensus-driven estimation can significantly benefit DevOps and Infrastructure teams. By incorporating Planning Poker into their processes, these teams can ensure more predictable, efficient, and successful outcomes in their projects.

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