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Definition

fist to five (fist of five)

Fist to five, also called fist of five, is a technique used by agile software development teams to poll team members and help achieve consensus. Fist to five is similar to thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs sideways.

To use the technique, the team facilitator restates an action the group may make and asks the team to show their level of support.  Each team member responds by holding up a closed fist or the number of fingers that corresponds to the level of support. If a team member holds up fewer than three fingers, she is given the opportunity to state her objections and the team may respond.  The facilitator continues the fist to five process until the team achieves consensus (everyone holds up three or more fingers) or agrees to move on to the next issue. 

Closed fist  -   No.  A closed fist is a way to block consensus.

1 finger - I have major concerns.

2 fingers - I would like to discuss some minor issues.

3 fingers - I’m not in total agreement but I feel comfortable enough to let this proposal pass without further discussion.

4 fingers - I think it’s a good idea and will work for it.

5 fingers - It’s a great idea and would like to take the lead when we implement it. 

See also: pigs and chickens

 

Continue reading about fist to five:

Using Fist of Five, Planning Poker to reach Agile team consensus

Learn more agile software development terms

Software development fundamentals

This was last updated in June 2011

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