Planning Poker. A One Night Stand? Let’s Hope NOT! -- Cartoon -- June 3, 2008

Welcome back to yet another week at

[Note: January 11,2012 — An updated blog posting about this comic strip is located at:]
Thanks as usual for coming back this week and helping me spread the word about this site.

If you have some time today, please tell three or four of your friends about it, and let’s see if even more people can have fun with us.

Ask them to subscribe. Please. There are opportunities all over the site (please let me know if it is confusing in any way!). In fact, you can forward them this note and have them Subscribe to Implementing Scrum via Email!

Now… about “Fun.”

Yeah, I know, I know… we do serious work in the real world Mike….

I know.

I live it, as I hope you can tell.

So last week I wrote a few segments about Fantasy Island, and I really loved that comic strip.

One of the things listed was, “You may be on Fantasy Island” if you play Planning Poker without your Product Owner.

For a quick overview on an introduction to Planning Poker, please see this posting.

And come back! I am not going anywhere.

You back?

See. I told you I’d still be here. I am persistent that way (get it geeks of the world?!?! HA??? Ug… nevermind lol).



WARNING: IF you have a very sensitive sense of humor (or none at all)… PLEASE STOP READING THIS POSTING.

My title tonight varied from, “How Planning Poker is like Unprotected Sex” to the one you see you actually displayed.

Guess it is at least a little more politically correct.



How can Planning Poker look like a one night stand?

Let me see if that can be answered sufficiently….

1) When you leave a Product Owner out of the process, you are at risk of waking up the next morning wanting to gnaw your left arm off. Clear?


Next one.

2) A Product Backlog does not have to be something that the Scrum Gods (aka Mr. Schwaber or others) think is perfect. Here is a fair question for you…. “Does it meet the needs of your customer?” If yes, all is good. If no, hire me (smile). Um. Dunno what that has to do with a one night stand (sorry).

3) Scrum Planning Poker without a Product Owner lands you in Fantasy Island. And. You cannot get off. Much like drinking and partying which can lead to the one night stand. You know, cannot get off the Island. And… never get to “Done.”

4) You cannot do any type of real release planning. Just like a one night stand, you may wind up with something you will have to live with for the rest of your life in about 10 months with not a clue it was coming (see my “Making Babies” post). Well, you saw it building and growing, but you have no idea what you are in for.

5) Hmmm…. I think the number one reason was the best (lol). Let me think. Oh…. this thing called “Group Think” may take place where everyone makes ASSumptions about the other. Can lead to going back to #1 in this list (smile).

6) Having a Product Owner there is like wearing a…. hmmm… do I dare say it? Nope. Use your imagination if you can. And. If it is missing it may feel fine but your team can wind up catching something that is hard to get rid of – or even cause your team to die.

7) And I guess my final word of advice… If you find yourself out during that “last call” and someone has that “five beer” look… GO HOME ALONE. This can be paralleled to playing Planning Poker without a Product Owner. If the Product Owner is not there… CANCEL THE MEETING.


Was that the most inuendo-filled-posting I have ever posted? I think the most inuendo-filled-COMIC-STRIP was the one on CSM Training. Strange how that is the most downloaded comic strip on the site (smile).

Hehe… It was a little fun.

Now… back to the work thing.

And remember your PRODUCT OWNER!

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Originally Published:
June 3, 2008
[Note: January 11,2012 — An updated blog posting about this comic strip is located at:]
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  1. says

    the same could be said of team members who don’t participate very well or if you don’t drive out the “How do we test this” type of conversation.

    One of our last few sprints we had a lot of “Secret requirements” pop up on some of our backlog items and it was difficult to get to “Done” because the PO kept finding things that didn’t meet their expectations.

    If your PO is there, and you agree on what it is you’re doing, how do you really have that conversation of “Well that may be a requirement but this is what we agreed on committing to, and what you’re saying is -something else-“

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