Basis of Estimating Software Development

Herding Cats

The estimating of software development is both straightforward and complex. When it is suggested that estimating is hard, of no value, and unnecessary, always ask what principle is used to support that claim? Here are some resources that will provide guidance to produce credible software development estimates, in both traditional and agile domains. Software Sizing and Estimating: Mk II FPA , Charles Symons, John Wiley & Sons, 1991.

Estimating is a Learned Skill

Herding Cats

Estimating is a learned skill, used for any purpose from every-day life to management of projects. When I left for the airport this morning to catch my flight to a customer site I estimated, given the conditions, how much time I need to get to my favorite parking spot at DIA. The same process for estimating is applied to multi-billion dollar projects we work. Here's some materials that provide the tools and processes needed to learn how to estimate. Johnson, STC 2010.

Estimating the Risk

Herding Cats

The idea of risk and its management and handling is a critical success factor for all software development. Peter Drucker (1975) Management (From The Principles of Software Engineering , Chapter 6, Tom Glib, 1988). In order to make risk-informed decisions, we must estimate the outcomes and the impacts of those outcomes on future activities (cost, schedule, and technical performance of products and services). Without these estimates, there is no risk management.

Online Collaboration Software

Binfire

Online collaboration software is gaining wide acceptance. The collaboration market is one of the fastest growing markets in the software industry. In fact, by 2012 this market is estimated to be $42.57 Elements of good online collaboration software.

Microeconomics and Risk Management in Decision Making for Software Development

Herding Cats

Microeconomics is applicable to the development is software systems. If we look at the discipline of software engineering, we see that the microeconomics branch of economics deals more with the types of decisions we need to make as software engineers or managers.

2007 42

Reading List for the Cone of Uncertainty

Herding Cats

The primary purpose of software estimation is not to predict a project’s outcome; it is to determine whether a project’s targets are realistic enough to allow the project to be controlled to meet them ? 10 Deadly Sins of Software Estimation , Steve McConnell , Construx, 2002. "A

2012 55

Cone of Uncertainty - Revisited

Herding Cats

The Cone of Uncertainty,” Stephen Gryphon, Phillippe Kruchten, and Steve McConnell, Letters, IEEE Software , 23 (5) 2006, pp 8?10. Shrinking the Cone of Uncertainty with Continuous Assessment for Software Team Dynamics in Design and Development,” Pongtip Aroonvatanaporn,”Ph.D.

2012 37

Monte Carlo Simulation

Herding Cats

Estimation is part of project management. . The most important estimates for the project manager are related to time and cost. . Since it is easier to estimate small tasks, these estimates are often calculated and performed as point estimates, for example, a task will take 3 days.

2010 51

Resources for Cone of Uncertainty

Herding Cats

Seems there is still some confusion (intentional or accidental) about the Cone of Uncertainty and its purpose and its use in software development. Some feel that the cone does not provide any value for the work they do and does not match the reducing uncertainty in their estimates.

2007 42

Managing in Presence of Uncertainty

Herding Cats

Let's start with a clear and concise description of the problem of successfully managing projects in the presence of uncertainty: Accurate software cost and schedule estimations are essential for non-trivial software projects. Why did the estimates NOT get better?

2010 59

Misunderstanding Making Decisions in the Presence of Uncertainty

Herding Cats

What happens if you shift focus from "accurate estimation" to "reliably shipping by a date"? . If your project has no uncertainty, there is no need to estimate. All estimates have precision and accuracy. Accuracy - how close is the estimate to the actual value?

2003 53

The Myth of Standish Reports - Update Number 2

Herding Cats

The Non-Existent Software Crisis: Debunking the Standish Report. The Standish report: does it really describe a software crisis?" Laurens Eveleens and Chris Verhoef, IEEE Software , vol. 1, Jan-Feb 2010, pages 30-36.

2010 40

Cone of Uncertainty - Part Cinq

Herding Cats

Barry Boehm's work in “Software Engineering Economics”. The Cone is a project management framework describing the uncertainty aspects of estimates (cost and schedule) and other project attributes (cost, schedule, and technical performance parameters). Software Engineering Economics”.

2007 43

Cone of Uncertainty - Part Trois

Herding Cats

Barry Boehm's work in “Software Engineering Economics”. The Cone is a project management framework describing the uncertainty aspects of estimates (cost and schedule) and other project attributes (cost, schedule, and technical performance parameters). Software Engineering Economics”.

2007 36

Cone of Uncertainty - Part Cinq (Updated)

Herding Cats

Barry Boehm's work in “Software Engineering Economics”. The Cone is a project management framework describing the uncertainty aspects of estimates (cost and schedule) and other project attributes (cost, schedule, and technical performance parameters). Software Engineering Economics”.

2007 38

Decision Analysis - Ordinal and Cardinal Measures

Herding Cats

When we hear of the difficulties of making decisions in the presence of uncertainty, especially about software features and capabilities, there are straightforward ways to solve this problem. In our agile software development world, AHP is rarely found.

2010 45

Project Management Lessons from Mavenlink CEO Ray Grainger

MavenLink

Today, you’re running a project management software company. How do you navigate the transition from consulting to the software field? I learned about project metrics—tracking time, the importance of accurate tracking, and estimation methods.

Deconstructing The Cone of Uncertainty

Herding Cats

The paper on the Cone of Uncertainty is used by many in the No Estimates community as an example of why estimates are of little use. In this paper, there is data that does not follow the Cone of Uncertainty, in that the uncertainty of the estimates does not reduce as the project proceeds. Shipping on time, to specifications, and within budget might be meaningless if a competitor is shipping software that has a greater value to the market.

2007 31

LiquidPlanner: A Microsoft Project Alternative

LiquidPlanner

Which makes sense—after all, Microsoft Project was the go-to project management software for years. We built LiquidPlanner based on the belief that teams work best when they organize tasks by priority, make best/worst case estimates, collaborate in one central location, and can rely on a scheduling engine that automatically updates whenever plan items change. Estimating effort: LiquidPlanner manages uncertainty by using ranged estimations based on best case/worst case scenarios.