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 percentage of your organization’s software projects that are developed within plus or minus 10% of the original estimated time? Reports Bennatan,
“Just 33% of surveyed software organizations report a success rate of more than 70%, which means that more than 70% of their projects were developed on time [8% of these reported a success rate of more than 90%].