Reasons to Estimate and Measure

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Estimating Software-Intensive Systems: Project, Products, and Processes , Richard D. Stutzke is a starting point for estimating software projects. I recommend it for anyone starting out in the estimating business all the way to seasoned veterans. Reasons to Estimate and Measure

How To Be An Estimating Superhero

Girl's Guide to PM

A statistical model for estimating isn’t normally something I’d put in the ‘make my job easy’ box, but I might just have found one that works. What if you want an estimate that is, say, 75% reliable? PERT can’t give you those kinds of estimates. How reliable is this estimate?”.

Cost Estimating Assessment Criteria

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Here are the guidelines for a credible cost estimate (GAO-16-620). Defines program, reflects current schedule, technically reasonable. Details calculations performed and estimating methodology used. Estimate should lack bias; be neither overly conservative nor optimist. Regular updates cost estimate to reflect significant changes. Estimate based on historical record of comparable p[rograms. Estimating techniques used appropriately. Cost Estimatin

Your Guide to Accurately Estimating Projects


Estimation is an invaluable tool for anticipating and managing project uncertainties. Accurate project estimates help identify cost and schedule requirements with relative precision, and reduce the risk of running out of time, resources, and budget during a project. Phased Estimating.

2018 69

4 Fallacious Reasons to Estimate and Why Those Are Fallacious

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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.

GAO Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide Applied to Agile

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The GAO Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide has 12 steps. The order of the needed Capabilties in defined in the business strategy. . These describe the increasing maturity of the project's artifacts. There are not specific to Agile Software Development.

The Five Laws of Software Estimating are Wrong

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There's a blog post from a few years back that has resurfaced The 5 Laws of Software Estimates. Law of Software Estimating. Fact of Software Estimating. Estimates are waste. To those paying the developers, estimates provide actionable information needed to make decisions: Can we afford to develop this feature? Estimates are non-transferrable . Its claimed Software estimates are not fungible. Estimates are Wrong. Estimates are NOT Guesses.

Common Ground for a Conversation about Estimating

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Neil Killick posted a good question, what's the common ground for talking about estimates. All estimates have two attributes - accuracy and precision. The values of these two attributes are what those needing the estimates are after. With the knowledge of the two values of these two attributes the decision makers can assess the "value" of the estimate. That request comes from those asking for the estimate. But that dysfunction is not "caused" by the estimate.

Forecasting versus Estimating - are they Different or are they the Same

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One of the escape clauses of #Noestimates is to re-label Forecasting as NOT Estimating , It is forecasting, based on empirical data. Empirical is defined as based on, concerned with, or verifiable by observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic.

The Potential of Agile

Tyner Blain

The potential to provide better predictions – but only if you invest in estimation skills, and only if you culturally make a distinction between prediction and commitment. To do this, you have to be able to estimate with confidence.

Agile 245

Increasing the Probability of Project Success

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How to Avoid the "Yesterday's Weather" Estimating Problem. Domain is King, No Domain Defined, No Way To Test Your Idea. Increasing the Probability of Project Success Simple in Theory, Complex in Practice.

Small Batch Sizes are NOT Risk Management

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The sampling rate is defined by the Nyquist Frequency. This approach is a closed loop control system, where the estimates work (in your choice of ordinal units) is the starting point. Epistemic uncertainty statements define and model these event-based risks: If?Then

2018 77

Modeling the Future Using Empirical Data from the Past

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Probability density function - define the probability, p(x) , when a variable is sampled, that the value x will be the result. This is a common excuse used by anti-estimating advocates to not learn how to estimate. Why Guessing is not Estimating and Estimating is not Guessing.

2018 61

From Mission Capabilities to Done

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Measures of Performance (MOP) – characterize physical or functional attributes relating to the system operation, measured or estimated under specific conditions.

Resources for Cone of Uncertainty

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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. First, the Cone of Uncertainty is a Principle used to define the needed reduction in the variances of estimates on Programs.

2007 60

Quote of the Day

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Cost estimation is part science, part art. There are many well-defined processes within the cost estimating discipline. There is also a subjective element to cost estimating that makes the discipline an art (NASA, 2004

2004 56

The Problems with Schedules

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Unrealistic Cost and Schedule estimates based on inadequate risk adjusted growth models. Before diving into the details of these, let me address another issue that has come up around project success and estimates. There is no ideal in the estimating business. Just the estimate.

2016 79

Fallacy of the Day

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Estimation is pretentious rationalism, where rationalism does not serve us well (extremistan)(sic) Take only risks you can survive. Pretentious rationalism is defined as a type of ultimate explanation—announced at one time as final truth—which is termed a system. The use of estimating in software development project mandates those estimates be updated with actual performance data to have any credibility in the construction of the Estimate to Complete and Estimate at Completion.

2009 57

Epistemic Uncertainty Creates Reducible Risk

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Estimates lead to buffers. Epistemic uncertainty, and the risk it creates, is modeled by defining the probability that the risk will occur, the time frame in which that probability is active, and the probability of an impact or consequence from the risk when it does occur, and finally, the probability of the residual risk when the handing of that risk has been applied. Epistemic uncertainty statements define and model these event?based NoEstimates Estimating Risk

Risk 46

Project Success Means Knowing.

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The consumers define what is needed. The consumers define what is needed. In order to know the precision and accuracy needed to make decisions, in the presence of uncertainty, we must start with estimating what is possible, estimating the attributes and measures of the needed outcomes of the work activities, that produce the capabilities for the needed cost and schedule. Estimating what Done looks like in units of measure meaningful to the decision makers.

Making Decisions in the Presence of Uncertainty

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Here's a collection of papers that has served me well in defining the processes needed to make decisions in the presence of uncertainty when managing projects using other people's money: " Beyond project decisions. NoEstimates Decision Making Estimating Management Risk

2013 72

Cone of Uncertainty Bibliography

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The CoU paradigm defines the needed reduction in uncertainty is some performance metric. This can be the confidence in the estimate for any variable. This usually results in a project's actual costs far outrunning the optimistic estimates and creating a large overrun.

2014 61

Risk Management in Five Easy Pieces, with Apologies to Jack

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This Plan needs to define: How the products and services will be “matured” as the project progresses? The answers to each of these questions require making estimates in the presence of uncertainty. No Point Estimate of Cost or Duration can be Correct.

Risk 69

Concept of Operations

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In the agile community, there is always some comment or opinion about how hard it is to define what the requirements are. How we can't possibly estimate the work since all the work is emergent. Define the risks to accomplishing the functional outcomes.

The Origins of Scrum and Empirical Closed Loop Control

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Scrum is) more defined rather than empirical process. Scrum is prescriptive and defined rather than empirical. Making decisions in the presence of this emerging uncertainty requires making estimates of the impacts or outcomes of any decision.

Integrated Master Plan - Revisited

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The Hypothesis requires tests (experiments) to confirm that we're moving in the right direction along the path defined in the Plan. Often the customer includes a program roadmap or top-level schedule that also helps define the scope of the IMP.

The Flaw of Average (Mean) and Its Cousin Mode and Median

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Story Points are Ordinal numbers ‒ relative measures of effort or complexity defined by the Scrum Team members for a specific Sprint, Feature, and perhaps a Release. Why Guessing is not Estimating and Estimating is not Guessing.


Definition of Done

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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? Estimating Processes in Support of Economic Analysis.

Software Economics

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Capability defined by the user through some form of value assessment , not by the provider. 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. Estimates are primarily used to support decisions.

The Trouble with Charts

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The other statistical issue is the chart showing #Noestimates versus other types of estimates. But the sample space of the total population of projects with #Noestmates as their estimating technique is only 3% of the total population. Today the Rally chart reappeared.


Misinterpretations of the Cone of Uncertainty

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These activities, their releationships and values are defined in a PLAN for increasing the probability of success for the project. Of late, Cone of Uncertainty has become the mantra of No Estimates advocates claiming that data is needed BEFORE the Cone is of any use.

Control, Stability, Short Term, Long Term all needed for Success

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They have to be estimated in the start. Even if the trail is defined in from of you, the small disruptions and many times big distributions input your control of the bike. A quick estimate is needed to decide what to do. This means some estimate of when we'll be back.

Cone of Uncertainty - Part Cinq

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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). The UCL and LCL are defined BEFORE the project starts. Estimating Probabilistic Outcomes?

2005 65

Use and Misuse of Statistics of Process Improvement Studies

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Was the dependent variable precisely, completely, and unambiguously defined? Estimating Processes in Support of Economic Analysis. Are Estimates Really The Smell of Dysfunction? NoEstimates Decision Making EstimatingThere are several studies on how software development can be improved by applying various process. Some studies have very large data sets, with analysis of each process and the differences between the processes.

Principles of Project Success

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The defined physical percent complete at a pre-defined time and pre-defined value. Information Technology Estimating Quality. Deliverables Based Planning(r) Estimating Governance IMP/IMS Management Performance-Based Project Management® PrinciplesProjects produce products, services, solutions. Projects deliver capabilities that fulfill Missions and Vision, Projects are a vehicle to accomplish and outcome.

Cone of Uncertainty - Part Trois

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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). The UCL and LCL are defined BEFORE the project starts. Estimating Probabilistic Outcomes?

2005 52

Cone of Uncertainty - Part Cinq (Updated)

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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 are needed but are subject to large level of uncertainty.

Mathematical Definitions - Again Misused to Convey Unsubstantiated Information

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It's been repeating nearly continuously since the start of the discussion about how to make decisions in the presence of uncertanty without estimating. . Salviati: If you have a number of uniform sized tasks & know velocity you can predict ttc (Time to Complete) Simplicio responds: us much stronger forecasting ability than estimation . Estimate. For example, the sample mean , x , is a point estimate of the population mean, μ.

2016 43

Is Software Development Art or Engineering

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And of course estimating the effort and duration of SISoS is a critical success factor for any business providing products and services to this domain. All other activities need some form of thought process built around assessing the outcome of our decisions in the presence of uncertainty, and that of course requires we make estimates of the impacts of those decisions. . Estimating and Making Decisions in Presence of Uncertainty.

Velocity versus Speed

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This is defined as a Vector. Estimates. NoEstimates Agile Estimating MathematicsVelocity is a speed in a specific direction. Velocity is Distance traveled divided by time in a specific direction. Speed and Direction. . The direction can be a compass heading.