Slideshare uses cookies to improve functionality and performance, and to provide you with relevant advertising. Incidentally, when I first started work I had a wise and cantankerous project manager who was full of oxymoronic proverbs. Anyway, here’s the summary; if you want more explanation on any of the points, refer to my previous posts (Upfront Estimates, Estimation Techniques, Estimate Ranges) on agile estimation.
I think that these 10 estimation of practices make a good way to work together with other people and a way to improve the business.
Use more than one person – By engaging the team in the estimation process we gain the benefits of additional insights and consensus building. Use more than one approach – Just as one person is likely to miss perspectives of estimating so too are single approaches. Agree on what “It” and “Done” means – make sure everyone is estimating in the same units (e.g. Know when to stop – estimating an inherently unpredictable process (custom software development with evolving requirements) will never be an exact science.
Present estimates as a range – We call them “estimates” not “predictions” because they have a measure of uncertainty associated with them.


Don’t reserve estimating for when you know least about the project – Estimation should not be reserved for the beginning of projects.
Be aware of common estimation omissions – Consult lists of common estimating omissions (such as Capers Jones’) and ensure these items are taken into account.
Embrace reality early – As the project progresses, it is tempting to think development will get faster and faster now all the technical problems have been overcome.
Review, Revisit, Remove head from sand, Repeat – Our first estimates will likely be our worst.
On SW projects estimates are at best today's collective speculation of most likely outcome. Additional people bring different perspectives to estimating and spot things individuals may miss.
Use multiple estimation approaches (comparison to similar projects, bottom up, user story points, etc) and look for convergence between multiple approaches to reinforce likely estimate ranges. Balance enough effort against the diminishing returns and false accuracies of over analysis.
If you organization persistently fails to understand, present a range of likely values (e.g.


Instead done throughout as we learn more about the emerging true requirements and ability of the team to build and evaluate software. Look back at retrospective notes for things that did not go so well, and tasks that were missed or ran late – make sure we include enough time for these.
These views should be written in quick fading ink, treated with caution, and revisited often.
To help you succeed in your leadership role, here are 10 best practices for project management team leaders.
Also, the involvement in the process generates better consensus and commitment for the estimates being produced. Especially if the system is now live; support, maintenance, test harness updates, and refactoring can quickly erode the velocity improvements anticipated, so use the real velocity numbers. Embrace the reality you see, “The map is not the territory”, reprioritize and repeat the estimation process often to adapt and iterate to the most accurate estimates.



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