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Estimation is easy: put any random number, just kidding.

Instead, always answer 1.  But, change the meaning of that 1.  Express your estimates in hours, days, weeks, months, seasons or quarters, years, decades, lifetime.

Humans are great at these kinds of estimates, and everyone can grasp the “order of magnitude” of such estimates.

How long will it take to implement feature x? 

1 day has a completely different implication than 1 year.

1 day (even if it takes 2 or even 3 days).  It means that technology is there, that the dev team knows what to do and how to do it.  Also, it means that a 100% slip in schedule equals 1 day, not one year.

1 year says a lot: you need to cut the feature in smaller chunks, you need a team, there will holidays, vacations, sick leaves, short leaves, pregnancy, the technology might not be there yet, there will probably research and development, proof of concepts, many changes in requirements as the project evolves and the client plays with the software, etc.  etc.  In a year, a 1% slip is equivalent to 1 week!

So, estimate using 1 and an “order of magnitude”.

Posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2012 7:54 AM | Back to top

Comments on this post: 1s Estimates

# re: 1s Estimates
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True ...

We face more difficulty when we start working with new team and all members are not on same pace.
Left by Sandeep on Dec 18, 2012 9:53 AM

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