Estimating Agile Projects.Or Not

Leading Answers

Project managers generally like plans and estimates so we can forecast when things should be done and how much they may cost. " So, when project managers hear about ideas such as "let's stop estimating," it can trigger a knee-jerk reaction.

Estimating Projects: What you Need to Know


Estimating projects is part and parcel of project management for any project. However, estimating projects with accuracy is not always so successful. In fact, many of the issues in project management can be traced back to failed attempts at estimating projects.


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Time Estimation for Project Managers: Tips & Techniques

The best a project manager can do is develop an accurate time estimate for how long it will take to satisfactorily complete the project. Time Estimation Matters. A 2018 study by the Project Management Institute (PMI), in its Pulse of the Profession report, stated that poor time estimating is the root cause for 25 percent of failed projects. Looking into the future to determine how much time it will take complete project tasks allows for an estimation.

Closed Loop Control and Granularity of the Estimating Process

Herding Cats

For any closed loop control system ? in the same way, your closed loop controller for your air conditioner or heater does - a sampling rate is determined based on the rate of change of the underlying processes. For the software machines the principles of closed loop control in the presence of noise and changing conditions are the same ? The estimate of Desired (or even contractual ) schedule, cost, or technical performance of the software project. Closed Loop Control.

How to Package and Price Embedded Analytics

What’s more, these features contribute 54 percent of the overall value of software products, as estimated by independent. Listen closely to salespeople: Are prospects asking for discounts because they won’t use all the functionality in the premium. Estimate how much of the 100 percent.

The Close Sibling of Communications and Stakeholder Management: Resource Management


In one of my earlier articles, The Twins–Communications and Stakeholder Management , I outlined how deeply and closely these two knowledge areas of the PMBOK® guide interact with each other. This is why I call it “the close sibling.”.

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. Since all projects operate in the presence of uncertainty, with the resulting risk - estimates are needed to make decisions that impact the future. This, of course, is nonsense, since estimates are about the past, present, and future.

Project Estimation Methods


The following content is based on the whitepaper, “Bigger Than a Breadbox: 10 Tips for Better Project Estimates, Part 1,” written by Jerry Manas. Much like a GPS uses satellite information on traffic patterns to calculate the remaining time on your trip, project estimation methods help you maintain a realistic project schedule. Guess you could say it’s the GPS of estimating. The GPS of Estimating. Contributor estimates. Leveraging contributor estimates.

Principles of Cost and Schedule Estimating

Herding Cats

One of the 4 summary root causes of project performance failures is Unrealistic Cost and Schedule Estimates based on inadequate risk-adjusted growth models. Those making these claims may have their own personal purposes, their own agenda, their own reasons for sell this idea that estimates are somehow no longer needed when we're spending other people's money to produce value in exchange for that money. If you have no uncertainty, then estimates provide no value.

The Origins of Scrum and Empirical Closed Loop Control

Herding Cats

This took me back since Scrum is derived from an empirical closed loop control system developed in the USAF by Col. And of course: Assessing the outcomes of the feedforward and feedback loops is the basis of all Closed Loop control system. See link below on Closed Loop Control). Making decisions in the presence of this emerging uncertainty requires making estimates of the impacts or outcomes of any decision. Closed Loop Control. Close Loop Thinking.

Roadmapping and Budgeting with Rapid Estimation

Leading Agile

Importantly, we have to be able to do that without redirecting the whole org to create an estimate. We have to get good at taking ambiguous requirements and translating them into chunks that we can meaningfully size, even though we have very little info — rapid estimation. Some organizations deal with this by disrupting current work to pull bunches of people into estimating these big chunks of work. Sometimes I’ll call this rapid estimation a SWAG.

Effort Estimations - How accurate can they be?

Too many teams struggle with “Effort Estimation”. Too often they ask me to help them make an accurate estimate of their effort. But why is effort estimation a struggle? . When I asked them about that, they could swear that their initial estimation was correct.

Webinar Recap: Analogous and Parametric Estimating Schedule Template


Please find below a transcription of the audio portion of Oliver Gildersleeve’s Analogous and Parametric Estimating Schedule Template webinar being provided by MPUG for the convenience of our members. The new schedule template covers both analogous and parametric estimating features.

Why Estimates are Needed for Success in the Nondeterministic Universe

Herding Cats

There's a fallacy used by some in the software development business, that estimates are not needed to make decisions in the presence of uncertainty. Of course, the machine in the video wouldn't be able to take a step without falling if it didn't have a probabilistic feedforward adaptive closed loop control system. Closed-loop control systems actively control the system based on state feedback. Why Guessing is not Estimating and Estimating is not Guessing.

Five Immutable Principles of Project Success and Estimating

Herding Cats

In order to manage risk - and act as an adult when spending other people's money - you must estimate many aspects of the project. The Five Immutable Principles of Project Success layout the aspects of project success that must be managed using estimates. . There was a question asked on Twitter - what do estimates have to do with these Principles ? Control in the presence of uncertainty is Closed Loop. Estimating Processes in Support of Economic Analysis.

2017 51

12 Principles of Agile with and without Estimates

Herding Cats

When we hear that the next big thing in agile is Not Estimating, let's look to see how those 12 Principles can be applied without those estimates? . How estimates help implement these principles. Without estimates what is missing. Without estimating the delivered value to the business for the estimated cost and time to delivery that value, the balance sheet will be wholly uninformed about when the breakeven date for this expenditure.

How to Manage Cost in Project Management


Cost management in project management is the system of determining, distributing and controlling costs for a particular project, usually guided closely by the project’s budget. The following are a few tips and pieces of advice for managing project cost: Estimate and budget.

2020 85

Increasing the Probability of Project Success

Herding Cats

and the connections between each Process are made to form a Closed Loop control systems needed to manage any project. How to Avoid the "Yesterday's Weather" Estimating Problem. Capabilities Earned Value Estimating Governance Management Performance-Based Project Management® Principles Requirements Risk Root Cause Analysis Technical Performance MeasuresIncreasing the Probability of Project Success Simple in Theory, Complex in Practice.

2017 69

The #NoEstimates Paradigm and Response

Herding Cats

This is a good starting point for answering the mail on the notion that decisions can be made in the presence of uncertainty without estimating the impact of those decisions. There is no sure basis of credibilityy for the No Estimates conjecture that decision can be made in the presence of uncertainty without first estimating the impact of the decision. . But his conjecture starts with estimates are a waste , not saying for whom they are a waste for.

2016 49

A Compendium of Works to Increase the Probability of Project Success

Herding Cats

Open Loop / Closed Loop Project Controls. How to Develop Credible Cost & Schedule Estimate. Estimating and Reporting Agile Projects using the SRDR and Earned Value Management , PSM Users Group 2017, 12-16 June 2017, Crystal City, VA. Estimating and Reporting Physical Percent Complete on Agile Projects , DHS Cost Analysis Stakeholder Working Group, June 26, 2017. How Should We Estimate Agile Software Development Projects and What Data Do We Need ?,

2008 45

DDSTOP The Saga Continues

Herding Cats

40 - Estimation is a Problematic Practice of Companies Doing Dangerous Things. A #Noestimates advocate makes the claim that having a ±10% accuracy for estimates of cost and duration is a dangerous thing. With what appears to be NO understanding of how to estimate, this author ignores the processes used in developing products or services in the presence of uncertainty. Define the probabilistic ranges of the work in a single point estimate manner. All by NOT Estimating?

2019 37

How to Make a Cost Management Plan

You know how it goes—you’re a few months out from a deadline, and your team isn’t anywhere close to finishing the project. It is typically made up of four processes: resource planning, cost estimation, budgeting and cost control. Cost Estimation.

2020 274

Start with Principles, Not Personal Anecdotes

Herding Cats

I've seen estimates abused by bad managers, so let's NOT estimate and that will fix the behavior of Bad Managers." While the human behaviors are real and observable, conjecturing that decisions can be made in the presence of uncertainty without estimating the outcome of those decisions, there is no principle to support that conjecture. The first thing to do is NOT fall for the fallacy that NOT Estimating will fix the behavior of the bad manager.

2018 39

A Wrap Up of the #NoEstimating Conjecture Analysis to Date

Herding Cats

The conjecture that we can make decisions in the presence of uncertainty without estimating the impacts of those decisions is without any principles that can be tested beyond personal anecdotes of I know people who spend other peoples money without providing estimates. Here's some reading to help understand why its bunk and how to learn to estimate in the presence of uncertainty in order to make better decisions. Software Estimating Taxonomy. Estimating Accuracy.

2016 35

Compendium of Works to Increase Probability of Project Success

Herding Cats

Open Loop / Closed Loop Project Controls - project management is a closed loop control system. A steering target is established, actions are taken, variances are assessed, corrective actions are taken to close the loop. RFETS was a nuclear bomb manufacturing plant, built in 1951, operating until 1989, and closed in 2005. The starting point is understanding what processes make up the discipline of estimating.

2015 37

Software Economics

Herding Cats

To make those economic decisions, we need to estimate both business value and development cost. Why Do We Need Estimates? It's not the developers that need the estimates - they take the money and turn that money into value. They should estimate if the needed value can be produced by that money. But if the developers decided they don';t need to estimate, then they'll be subject to the whims of management, just like Dilbert. Decision Making Without Estimates?

2016 38

4 Categories of Project Management Methods

Girl's Guide to PM

The four types of project management methods are: Data gathering and analysis methods Estimating methods Meetings and events Other (because it’s always worth having a bucket category for anything else, right?). Estimating methods. Here are four estimating methods.

2021 255

Small Batch Sizes are NOT Risk Management

Herding Cats

This approach is a closed loop control system, where the estimates work (in your choice of ordinal units) is the starting point. As the work progresses the TO DO value goes from the original estimate to the new estimate to complete. What is your updated estimate to complete the work, you've been working on, now that you've been working on it ? This closes the loop with empirical data on a daily basis, from the physical assessment of the work performed.

Risk 36

Two Parallel Processes of Project Success - Both Value and Delivery are Needed

Herding Cats

Software engineering economics is a topic that addresses the elements of software project costs estimation and analysis and project benefit-cost ratio analysis. This is the foundation for estimates. Estimates, with accuracy and precision values, are needed to make credible decisions. These estimates are critical to both developers and customers. Why Guessing is not Estimating and Estimating is not Guessing.

2018 39

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. In many cases, once the estimates have been made (at proposal or authorization to proceed), recalibrate and reduction the uncertainty of the initial estimates is not always performed. Why did the estimates NOT get better? NoEstimates Estimating

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. Or perhaps as an estimate with two-point ranges. The result is an artificial world (model) that is meant to closely resemble the real world in all relevant aspects. [8].

2018 38

Deconstructing the Hertz and Accenture Debacle

Herding Cats

A recent lawsuit by Hertz Rental Car against Accenture has turned into a rallying cry by Agilest and No Estimates advocates. Yes, Dorthey the vendor must provide some sort of credible estimate of the work based on a model of that work - SysML is a really nice modeling language that can be used to producing cost and schedule estimates. This is a foundational principle of program planning and controls just as it is a principle of closed-loop control systems.

Project Management Process: The Basics


Closing : processes required to formally end a project, or a phase of a project. . The project charter formally authorizes a project, and includes elements such as a high-level scope statement, timeline and cost estimate, as well as a list of key risks, opportunities and stakeholders.

The Fallacy of #NoEstimates

Herding Cats

Let's look at the credibility of each of the statements below: Estimating can be an endemic problem in organisations these days because estimating is fundamentally guessing, yet these guesses are taken as promises / firm commitments (when that is not how they were intended). If you're guessing, you're not estimating. Estimates are informed by past data or a model. The uncertainties of the estimates have accruracy and precision. Very close to coin flipping. .

2018 30

A Reminder of the Pseudo-Science of #NoEstimates

Herding Cats

That is, ways to make decisions with "No Estimates". How would you assess a decision in the presence of uncertainty without making an estimate of the outcome of that decision. Defies the principles of closed loop control systems in the presence of stochastic non-stationary systems. . NoEstimates Estimating ManagementWhen you hear. NoEstimates is a hashtag for the topic of exploring alternatives for making decisions in software development.

2016 47

Risk Management is How Adults Manage Projects

Herding Cats

It just closed the loop faster. But when some statement is made about risk, estimating, performance modeling, or the like - always ask for references. NoEstimates Estimating RiskIn a recent exchange in social media, it was clear the notion of risk and the sources of risk, the consequences or risks and managing in the presence of risk was in very unclear, when it was conjectured , we can simply slice the work into small bits and REDUCE risk. .

2003 38

Artificial Intelligence in Project Management

International Institute for Learning

It is also clear that the project management practice where capabilities of forecasting project scenarios and outcomes, predicting the impact from risks and issues, estimating work, etc. By Marcus Glowasz – Project & Product Lead, Fortean | Program Manager, UBS.

Definition of Done

Herding Cats

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? Do those capabilities meet the Measures of Performance that characterize physical or functional attributes relating to the system operation, measured or estimated under specific conditions?

2017 38

3 Questions That Must Be Asked at Every Project Management Meeting

Herding Cats

And finally, since all project work operates in the presence of uncertainty, we must make estimates in order to execute the project in a Closed Loop manner. NoEstimates Capabilities Decision Making Estimating Governance IMP/IMS Management Principles Project Management RiskI came across a post on Twitter that led me to the blog post 3 Questions You Need to Ask at Your Next Meeting. Please subscribe to their newsletter.

2018 35

The Fallacy of #NoEstimates

Herding Cats

Let's look at the credibility of each of the statements below: Estimating can be an endemic problem in organisations these days because estimating is fundamentally guessing, yet these guesses are taken as promises / firm commitments (when that is not how they were intended). If you're guessing, you're not estimating. Estimates are informed by past data or a model. The uncertainties of the estimates have accruracy and precision. Very close to coin flipping. .

2018 28