Estimation is one of the most difficult aspects of the Agile process. The natural tendency of team members is to include only the time it will take to complete the actual work for the item they are estimating. I have a process where I break each work item down into 4 parts to help me get a more accurate estimate. This is a process I use all the time in my current role as CTO of CUE Marketplace and I hope it helps you in your Agile estimations.
Understanding the Big Picture Estimate
I want to know every aspect of the work item that I’ll be completing, so I add any time it would take for me to fully understand it. It’s a huge time saver if my Product Owner has written the work items as user stories. That format helps with the “who,” “what,” and “why.” Other items that could take time include understanding any UI designs/clickable demos, reviewing usability tests and getting to know the “who” part of the story by researching the customer or persona.