Agile planning, grooming, and estimation

Sticky notes on planning board
Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash

This article describes the difference between planning, grooming, and estimation in agile methodology.


Based on the company goals and user research, the Product Manager (PM) comes up with the business case.

The Designer comes up with prototypes and conducts user testing. This happens during design sprints, which engineers can participate in the discussion and activity.

Once the business case is approved, the PM creates an initiative with an epic for spikes and tech designs. (See guide for writing technical specs.)

The Tech Lead (lead engineer) works on the tech design, which is reviewed by the team.

Once the tech design is approved, the Lead and PM perform story breakdown:

The initiative is then prioritized by the PM in the product roadmap.


The iron triangle (PM, Designer, and Lead) grooms the tickets by:

Each member is responsible for the following:

Once tickets are groomed, they are marked as Ready for Estimation


The team points the tickets using planning poker. The goal of estimation is to generate a discussion and the points themselves shouldn’t be held sacred. Estimation occurs periodically but can happen ad-hoc.

Tickets are then marked as Ready for Dev and are ready to be picked up.

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