I recently lead a team through their first Planning Poker session and had an interesting conversation with one of the team members afterward that I thought I'd share.
While we were discussing how the session went the team member commented, "If nothing else, Planning Poker is a great team building exercise."
He also commented, that he noticed an improved moral of the team and an additional sense of engagement.
This is a team that has been struggling with a number of ALM challenges along with Knowledge Silos. Each individual has specialized knowledge about the overall system and this has created two major problems. Developers feel pigeonholed into a specific area and when developers leave the expertise goes with them.
The Knowledge Silos have also have an isolating affect on the team. Each developer ends up feeling like an individual trudging along and not really understanding how their work affects the whole.
The affect of the initial Planning Poker session was profound for the team. Each member of the team was valued equally and saw how their piece affected the overall.
Planning Poker is obviously not the silver bullet for the Knowledge Silos and should not be confused as a team building exercise. That said, team building seems to be another positive side effect of Planning Poker.