Everyone knows estimating work in IT can be difficult. Whenever you ask an IT expert for an estimate, the sequence of events can look like this: Requester asks, “How long do you think that will take?” The expert pauses, silent, eyes looking up. You can see the wheels spinning. After a few moments, the expert responds: “It depends.” The expert and the requester begin a new round of conversations, further specifying what “it” is and what “depends” means. Estimating isn’t really estimating at all. It is a process of understanding with greater specificity, breaking the work down in greater detail and nailing down unstated or less clear choices. Once all the details are known and Read more
Posts Tagged 'estimation'
My colleague, Kim Leonard, highlighted some of the first analyses of Cutter’s recent study on software estimation back in November (Software estimation “a tough beast to control“). Elli Bennatan‘s analysis is ongoing; here are some of the latest highlights: In 2002, the most common remedy for schedule problems was overtime. Now, six years later, a Cutter Consortium survey has revealed some interesting news: when projects run into scheduling problems, the two most common remedies are extending the schedule and reducing functionality, with overtime relegated to third place, followed by adding staff. … To a large degree, the shift away from adding overtime indicates a positive change in culture. Organizational behavior is improving!” Previous Cutter Consortium Read more
One of the most costly results of poor estimation skills is often the complete cancellation of a project. Cutter Consortium recently examined the extent to which software organizations have abandoned or cancelled projects over the past three years due to significant budget or schedule overruns. This survey effort studied software project estimation at more than 100 software development organizations and was analyzed by Cutter Consortium Senior Consultant E.M. Bennatan. The first area we examined was comparative performance; how are projects estimated today compared to six years ago? We defined success by the ±10% rule: success means hitting the mark within 10%. Organizations were asked: In the past three years, what would you say is the Read more
The subtitle of Extreme Programming Explained , Kent Beck’s groundbreaking book, is “Embrace Change.” The full range of behaviors that this seemingly simple phrase can be affect are in fact very far-reaching. Part of this impact can be explained by altering the focus of the phrase to one that is a little, well, fuzzier: embrace uncertainty. In his intriguing talk on the future of agile development at the Agile 2008 conference, David Anderson commented about three outcomes: right, wrong, and uncertain. Of the three, uncertainty, is the hardest to deal with in most organizations. The comment, “I don’t know,” is often an unacceptable response, while it is often the best response. To a manager’s question, Read more