estimation

Estimates and the desire to be lied to

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A manager who does not accept estimates with range for uncertainty demonstrates a desire to be lied to. A mundane corporate drama We’re at a staff meeting of a company reliant upon but not about software. Halfway through the hour long meeting, they start talking about a new software dependent product. The product has been a bullet point and a few sentences for months but now has some artwork and wireframes. After a general conversation, the sponsor turns to the … Read More

More estimates in real life

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Constraints (July 2008) “There are some 146,000 U.S. soldiers in Iraq, down from a peak of 170,000 in 2007” — Reuters “Although no decision has been made, by the time President Bush leaves office on Jan. 20, at least one and as many as 3 of the 15 combat brigades now in Iraq could be withdrawn or at least scheduled for withdrawal, the officials said. The most optimistic course of events would still leave 120,000 to 130,000 American troops in … Read More

Stop calling it an estimate. Stop pretending it’s a commitment.

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A product owner describes work. The team estimates it. The product owner sets a delivery target. The team commits to it. Estimates People are good at estimating their own ideal effort on well-defined work within their realm of experience. People are poor at translating ideal effort into calendar days, estimating how long others will take to perform work, and estimating work that is either poorly understood. Estimation is time consuming with diminishing returns so the effort should be managed to … Read More