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How to Talk About Estimates

Herding Cats

What is an estimate? An estimate as a noun is an approximate calculation or judgment of the value, number, quantity, or extent of something. An estimate as a verb is to roughly calculate or judge the value, number, quantity, or extent of. But those estimates, nouns, and verbs themselves's have other attributes. Every month there is a Month End reports, both showing cumulative cost to date, cumulative schedule performance, and Physical Percent Complete.

4 Fallacious Reasons to Estimate and Why Those Are Fallacious

Herding Cats

There's a recent post titled Four Fallacious Reasons to Estimate. It lists the usual suspects for why those spending the money think they don't have to estimate how much they plan to spend when they'll be done producing the value they've been assigned to produce for that expenditure. And like many posts and tweets about estimating, it's made from this point of view, not the business point view, not from the point of view of those paying the developer.

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Principles, Processes, and Practices of Project Success

Herding Cats

Practices and Process are Fads. A Process is a series of steps and decisions involved in the way work is completed. Here's my version in the form of questions that when answered form the foundation for the Practices and Processes. What does Done look like in units of measure meaningful to the decision makers? What impediments will be encountered along the way to Done and what work must be performed to handle these impediments? Principles are timeless.

2017 44

Increasing the Probability of Project Success

Herding Cats

This means having a set of Principles, Process, and Practices to test the suggestion against. These Five Immutable principles are time phased into Processes that provide answers to the Five Principles. and the connections between each Process are made to form a Closed Loop control systems needed to manage any project. With some details for each process area. To support these Principles and Processes, a set of Practices are needed.

2017 69

What is an Estimate? What is Estimating?

Herding Cats

I work in a domain where estimates are made every single week. Estimate to Complete (ETC), Estimate at Completion (EAC), Estimated Completion Date (ECD) are the life blood of our software intensive system of systems programs. Embedded systems, data processing, image processes, web interfaces, backend databases, networking of collections of devices on the ground and in the air, training systems, logistics systems, maintenance and testing systems.

Cone of Uncertainty Bibliography

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I work in a domain where the CoU is baked into the Integrated Program Performance Management (IPPM) processes flowed down from the buyer, in this case, the Federal Government. The CoU paradigm defines the needed reduction in uncertainty is some performance metric. This can be the confidence in the estimate for any variable. It can be the needed performance of a measure - Effectiveness, Performance, Key Performance Parameter, or a Technical Performance Measures.

2017 32

Integrated Master Plan - Revisited

Herding Cats

Transparent – Comprehensible display of what needs to be done and how completion is measured. It is essential that the IMP represent the work that must be performed. If the IMP is being prepared as part of a proposal, then the Request for Proposal (RFP) and RFP attachments will be the primary documents to define the work to be performed. The IMP shows the Accomplishments and the measures of Accomplishments that are essential to get through a design review.

Definition of Done

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These Measures have Little meaning to the Decision Makers. Do those capabilities meet the Measures of Effectiveness needed to accomplish the mission of the system in operational units of success closely related to the achievements of the mission or operational objectives evaluated in the operational environment, under a specific set of conditions? These are attributes to assure the system has the capability and capacity to perform.

2017 38

Risk Management in Five Easy Pieces, with Apologies to Jack

Herding Cats

Managing Cost, Schedule, & Technical Performance Risk Is The Basis Of Good Project Management. Certain information about key project cost, performance, and schedule attributes are often unknown until the project is underway. These risks can be mitigated with a good risk management process. A good risk management process is proactive and fundamentally different than issue management or problem-solving, which is reactive. Risk Management Process Model.

2017 37

From Mission Capabilities to Done

Herding Cats

No matter the project domain or the technical development method, project success is dependent on knowing what Done looks like in units of measure meaningful to the decision maker. These measures are: Measures of Effectiveness (MOE) – are the operational measures of success that are closely related to the achievements of the mission or operational objectives evaluated in the operational environment, under a specific set of conditions.

2017 35

Increasing the Probability of Program Success

Herding Cats

And to make those risk-informed decisions in the presence of reducible and irreducible uncertainty we need to ESTIMATE. So, If your making decisions in the presence of uncertainty and you're NOT estimating the impact of those risks on the probability of success, then you're not managing the project - usually paid with other people's money as an Adult. So let's look at the principles, processes, and practices that will be in the White paper when it is complete.

Performance-Based Project Management®

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Performance–Based Project Management ® integrates five critical program management process areas with – Cost, Schedule, and Technical Performance Measures. The inclusion of Technical Performance Measures (TPM) separates this approach from conventional methods based solely on managing cost and schedule. The result is increased visibility and credibility of the Independent Estimate at Completion (IEAC). Eyes Wide Shut - A View of No Estimates.

Misinterpretations of the Cone of Uncertainty

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The Cone of Uncertainty as a Technical Performance Measure. Active reduction requires we have a desired reduction goal, perform the work, and measure progress toward the rduction goal. Management of this reduction work and measurement of the progress is a Close Loop Control System paradigm. Closed Loop Control, has a goal, an action, a measurement, and a corrective action. The Cone of Uncertainty as a Technical Performance Measure.

2017 32

Compendium of Works to Increase Probability of Project Success

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Management Processes (#MP). Project Performance Management (#PPM). Technical Performance Measures (#TPM). Cost, Schedule, and Technical Performance Management (#CSTPM). The overarching theme is focused on defining what Done looks like, assessing progress toward Done in units of measure meaningful to the decision makers. Those units always start with Measures of Effectiveness and Measures of Performance. Management Processes.

2015 37

Five Immutable Principles of Project Success

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No matter the engineering processes used to produce the outcomes from the project. Without these measures, Done will usually mean . Without these measures, Done will usually mean we ran out of time and money. . The test of the hypothesis for projects are the Measures of Effectiveness, Measures of Performance, Key Performance Parameters, and techTechnicalformance Measures used to assess progress to plan for the project. No Estimating?

2017 35

Performance-Based Project Management®

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Successfully managing projects, not matter the domain, the size, the development or engineering method starts with a set of Principles, Practices, and Processes. The Processes need to be tailored to your domain. Principles and Practices of Performance-Based Project Management® from Glen Alleman. Information Technology Estimating Quality.

2017 32

Fallacy of the Day

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Project Controls are Management Actions, either preplanned to achieve the desired result, or taken as a corrective measure prompted by the monitoring process. Project controls are concerned with the metrics of the project – quantities, time, cost, and other resources and their measurable beneficial outcomes for the project. In the Project Controls paradigm, Value is a measurable attribute of the project controls process - a Closed Loop Control measure.

2017 34

Deconstructing the Hertz and Accenture Debacle

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A recent lawsuit by Hertz Rental Car against Accenture has turned into a rallying cry by Agilest and No Estimates advocates. Of course, No Root Cause analysis has been performed by these advocates, but it makes good click bait for their followers. This approach is guided by the processes for Root Cause Analysis on Software Intensive System of Systems project I've worked. Were they based on the established planning processes for complex Software Intensive System of Systems?

Wilo's Law and Mature Communications Processes

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To make some conjecture that some process will fix the problem - Estimates are the smell of dysfunction and NOT Estimating will fix that dysfunction - is naive at best and willfully ignorant of Root Cause Analysis at worse. Avoid Verbal Orders is a critical process in any critical situation. Any successful technical communication needs to have: Measures of Effectiveness. Measures of Performance. Technical Performance Measures.

2017 46

Biases in Project Management and How to Remove Them

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There is always lots of complaining about the biases introduced into managing projects and making the estimates needed to make project decisions. Cognitive bias - a mistake in reasoning, evaluating, remembering, or other cognitive processes, often occurring as a result of holding onto one's preferences and beliefs regardless of contrary information. Because of that, we don't separate the thinking processes into a dual-system.

Cancelling Projects: The Project Isn't Being Done Right

Project Health Check

A classic way to consider project performance is via the triple constraint of scope/cost/time, often with quality thrown in the mix. In part 1 of this article series, we accepted that Projects sometimes need to be cancelled. In part 2, we look at how sometimes the Project being worked on is no longer the right Project. In this part 3, we will look at the other cause of cancelling: the Project isn't being done right.

2017 179

Decision Analysis - Ordinal and Cardinal Measures

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This method is the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP). AHP is based on the principle that all measurements are relative. AHP provides a framework to make relative comparisons using a rational decision structure based on scaled pairwise comparisons (Borda Ranking) using a scale that converts stakeholder preferences and priorities into ratio measures. This decision model for software development projects addressed: performance, cost, time, and risk.

2018 40

Biases in Project Management and How to Remove Them

Herding Cats

There is always lots of complaining about the biases introduced into managing projects and making the estimates needed to make project decisions. Cognitive bias - a mistake in reasoning, evaluating, remembering, or other cognitive processes, often occurring as a result of holding onto one's preferences and beliefs regardless of contrary information. Because of that, we don't separate the thinking processes into a dual-system.

Managing in Presence of Uncertainty

Herding Cats

The uncertainty is always there, it doesn't go away with specific actions in specific domains, or with the use of any tools, processes, or practices. This is an immutable principle that impacts planning, execution, performance measures, decision making, risk, budgeting, and overall business and technical management of the project and the business funding the project no matter the domain, context, technology or any methods. We need a formal risk management process.

Cone of Uncertainty - Part Cinq

Herding Cats

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). Estimates of cost, schedule, technical performance on the left side of the cone have a lower probability of being precise and accurate than estimates on the right side of the cone. The Cone is NOT the result of the project's past performance.

2017 33

Cone of Uncertainty - Part Cinq (Updated)

Herding Cats

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). Estimates of cost, schedule, technical performance on the left side of the cone have a lower probability of being precise and accurate than estimates on the right side of the cone. Estimates are needed but are subject to large level of uncertainty.

2017 30

Cone of Uncertainty - Part Trois

Herding Cats

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). Estimates of cost, schedule, technical performance on the left side of the cone have a lower probability of being precise and accurate than estimates on the right side of the cone. The Cone is NOT the result of the project's past performance.

2017 28

Cone of Uncertainty - Part Deux

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The Cone is a project management framework describing the uncertainty aspects of estimates or any other project attribute (in this post, cost, schedule, and technical performance parameters). Estimates of cost, schedule, technical performance on the left side of the cone have a lower probability of being precise and accurate than estimates on the right side of the cone. There can be cost and schedule performance measures as well.

2017 30

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. Landmark’s measure of success over these three years had much more to do with customer satisfaction and market share than with meeting knowingly aggressive targets.

2007 37

Risk Management is How Adults Manage Projects

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All making things smaller dos is show that you're late, over budget, and what you're building (Technical Performance Measures) doesn't work faster. But when some statement is made about risk, estimating, performance modeling, or the like - always ask for references. Complete Guide to the Basics of Project Risk Management: Improve Your Chances for Success, Dmitry Nizhebetskiy, Project Management Basics, 2017. NoEstimates Estimating Risk

2003 38

Microeconomics and Risk Management in Decision Making for Software Development

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Take for example the deployment of an ERP system, the installation, and startup of a process control system, the release of a suite of embedded software controllers for a car, aircraft, petrochemical plant. When we hear about software development disasters and then hear that estimates are to blame, and NOT Estimating will somehow reduce or prevent these disasters, think again. risks that affect the cost and schedule measures of the program. 55-66, 2017.

2007 32

Why Johnny Can't Do The Math

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In a previous post, Why Johnny Can't Estimate , mentioned some resources for estimating, the principles of business and technical management that demand estimates be made to make decisions, and background on the sources of uncertainty, that create risk, that require estimating to increase the probability of project success. One of the #Noestimates advocates has now discovered a phrase: Estimates are non-ergodic. Software development is a non-ergodic process.

Modeling the Future is the Basis of Project Success

Herding Cats

PP&C lives in the domain of Project Management and Controls, which is a Technical Management Processes of ISO 15288. It's the Planning and Controls processes working together with the Technical Development processes that provide the ability to forecast what should happen in the future if we keep going like we are going now using a Model of the possible future outcomes. In ISO 15288 this is the role of the Risk Management Processes.

2018 36