Agile Voting: Fist of Five

Thinking isn’t agreeing or disagreeing. That’s voting.
Robert Frost

In Agile it is important to come to consensus about what the team is agreeing upon doing.  When getting approval in a Sprint planning meeting you can use what is called the “Fist of Five” voting technique.


A closed fist is used to block consensus.


One finger is a sign of major concerns and we shouldn’t move forward.


Two fingers show that I have some reservations that I would like to discuss.


Three fingers says I am can support this action.


Four fingers state that I think this is a good idea and I can work on that.


Five fingers show unlimited support, I can champion or lead this effort.

As you can see this is similar to the simple Roman Gladiator voting of thumbs up or thumbs down.  Although the Fist of five gives a little more granularity that can be helpful and quickly communicate your feelings on an item.

I have used this when we have completed a Sprint Planning meeting to get buy in for the items we have committed to in our next sprint.  You want to make sure you have everyone’s support of three fingers or greater.  If you do not it is a good idea to revisit your commitments and perhaps move off some items or trade some smaller items in after a discussion of the reservations.

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