It’s often useful to get a “gut check” on the likelihood of a sprint or release plan being successful. If you’re a new team and don’t have an established velocity, this “Fists-of-Five” gut check might be all the data you have.

To perform a “Fists-of-Five” vote, every member of the team votes on the likelihood of a plan being successful on a 1–5 scale. Describe the scale below, then vote together on the count of three.

fists of five

Fists of Five voting technique

In general, it’s acceptable to proceed if everyone votes 4 or 5. If someone votes a 3 or less, ask them what it might take to vote a 4 or 5.

For instance, suppose all of the developers vote 4 or 5, but the user experience researcher votes 2. Ask why. They may tell you that there are too many items that require their skill set in the sprint. They may be willing to vote a 4 or 5 if some of those items are replaced with developer-oriented items. Then vote again.