The Power of Anonymous Planning Poker

Anonymous Planning PokerAnonymous Planning Poker

In my years of working with agile teams, I've seen the transformative power of planning poker in improving estimation accuracy and fostering collaboration. However, there's one aspect of planning poker that often gets overlooked: the importance of anonymity. Anonymous planning poker takes the benefits of this estimation technique to the next level by eliminating bias and creating a safe space for honest estimations.

Why Anonymity Matters in Planning Poker

When team members reveal their estimates openly, there's a risk of unconscious bias influencing the results. Junior developers might defer to the opinions of more experienced team members, while others may feel pressure to conform to the majority opinion. This can lead to less accurate estimates and a lack of diverse perspectives.

Anonymous planning poker addresses these issues by allowing team members to submit their estimates without revealing their identity. This creates a level playing field where every opinion is valued equally, regardless of seniority or expertise.

The Benefits of Anonymous Planning Poker

  1. Eliminates Bias: Anonymous estimation removes the influence of authority bias, conformity bias, and other psychological factors that can skew estimates.

  2. Encourages Honest Opinions: When team members feel safe to express their true opinions without fear of judgment, they are more likely to provide honest estimates based on their understanding of the work.

  3. Promotes Diversity of Thought: Anonymous planning poker encourages all team members to contribute their unique perspectives, leading to more robust and well-rounded estimates.

  4. Increases Participation: Some team members may be hesitant to speak up in open estimation sessions. Anonymity lowers the barrier to participation, ensuring that every voice is heard.

Facilitating Anonymous Planning Poker

While anonymous planning poker can be conducted using physical cards and a facilitator, tools like Kollabe streamline the process and make it easier to maintain anonymity. Kollabe is a web-based platform that offers anonymous planning poker as a core feature.

With Kollabe, teams can set up estimation sessions where participants submit their estimates anonymously. The tool aggregates the results and reveals them only when everyone has submitted their estimate. This ensures that no one is influenced by others' opinions and that the final estimate reflects the collective wisdom of the team.

Anonymous Planning Poker game on Kollabe

When to Use Anonymous Planning Poker

Anonymous planning poker is particularly valuable in situations where there may be power imbalances or interpersonal dynamics that could influence estimations. It's also useful when teams are new and still building trust, or when dealing with complex or contentious user stories that require careful consideration.

However, it's important to note that anonymity should be used judiciously. In mature, high-trust teams, open communication and collaboration can be more beneficial than strict anonymity.


Anonymous planning poker is a powerful tool for eliminating bias, encouraging honest opinions, and promoting diversity of thought in agile estimation. By leveraging tools like Kollabe, teams can easily incorporate anonymous estimation into their workflows and reap the benefits of more accurate and unbiased estimates. Give anonymous planning poker a try in your next estimation session and see the difference it makes!


Kollape is a free platform for Agile teams to run planning poker and retrospectives meetings. If you like our work, please consider supporting us by buying us a coffee. Thank you!