Mike Cohn


Agile Estimating & Planning

by Mike Cohn


  • This book is advanced, but it starts from a very basic premise. For an intermediate learn, you could just stop after Part 4, and skip directly to the last part, which is a nice practical anecdote. The parts after this discuss larger teams and more complicated math for estimations and velocity.
  • This book does an excellent job describing how we plan projects, though we do have a significantly higher story point measure than the book's typical one (maybe x10? Meaning their 8 is our 80).
  • This book definitely covers communication, but it is not a focus. This is much more about how to estimate, schedule, and calculate velocity.


Planning is a significant value to the operations side of the business. It enables you to have better answers to questions than "I don't know", something akin to "3-7 weeks given current circumstances". If you want to improve your skills here, this is the best book I have found to do so.

Who should read?

Anyone who wants to plan something inherently vague more efficiently. This applies far beyond software (though it is obviously the focus here). If you don't want to go too advanced, follow my map in TLDR.

Important Concepts

  • When discussing estimating, we tend to stick to a single "currency" while they have "story points" and "task hours", but otherwise everything is the same. This is likely the most valuable section.
  • You can somewhat ignore iteration and release planning, as we tend to be more "continuous" than the situations in the book.
  • Similarly, scheduling is something that is far more iterative, but knowing when and how things will be released is a valuable item to be able to calculate.