This method is usually used for estimating quickly on a large chunk of user stories to get a feeling on the overall project effort or part of it. I know this estimation method has a name but I have forgotten it. Any clue?

The process in more detail: The whole team estimates, but only one single team member at a time. If a veto is given by a team member, the one who’s given the veto gives his estimate, allowing the rest of the team to veto again. This continues until no one vetos. In case of a circular vetoing the team members who are disagreeing discuss the task and finally come to an agreement. If no veto is given, the right to estimate is passed on to the next team member.

  • The one estimator with the rest providing veto is throwing me. However, a high-level estimate performed by an expert sounds like a engineer's estimate of a rough order of magnitude. That's all I got. Commented Mar 5, 2020 at 14:44
  • @DavidEspina In the method I’m searching for there is no expert who is estimating alone. I’ve added a more detailed explanation of that aspect to my question. Commented Mar 6, 2020 at 12:49
  • Have you seen this in multiple companies or just a single one? I'm almost certain there aren't any commonly used consensus based estimation methods similar to this as it's inherently going to lead to earlier estimators biasing the estimates of later ones. Possibly it's an in-house technique somewhere but without widespread adoption? Commented Mar 6, 2020 at 13:09
  • @RuaidhriPrimrose I’ve taken part in this only once. Though I remember the method had some fancy name and I’m quite certain it was not invented in that company. The method is certainly not ideal for estimating user stories that go into the next sprint, but it is efficient if you need to go through a large backlog in a short amount of time and get a feeling on the overall project effort. The more stories the team estimates, the more often the role of the estimator changes, the less the biasing turns out to be an issue. Commented Mar 6, 2020 at 15:10

2 Answers 2


I’ve finally reached out to the person who conducted the estimation meeting in the company where we used that method and he told me to search for “magic estimation”. We used a variation of it. If you search for the method online and read the description, you will find a slight difference: All team members estimate in parallel, though each team member gives an estimate on a different story. The vetoing also is done in parallel.


The nearest is "Fists of Five"

In this article Four quick ways to gain or assess team consensus Mike Cohn outlines the Fists of Five.

In a fists-of-five vote, each team member will hold up the number of fingers that indicates how strongly he or she supports a decision.

In this method, if any team member shows a single finger, it is a veto.

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