No more initial estimates? NOOOOOOOOOOO!

Kiron Bondale

You are assigned to manage a project and before you or your team have had an opportunity to start to chip away at the looming mountain of uncertainty, you get put on the spot to provide a cost or schedule estimate by your project sponsor or some other stakeholder.

Decisions Without Estimates?

Herding Cats

Can you make a decision without an estimate? There are NO means of making a credible decision in the presence of uncertainty without estimating the outcome of that decision. Don't assume, Estimate. Be an Adult, estimate the impact of the risk on the probability of success.

Trending Sources

Estimating on Agile Projects

Herding Cats

Here's a straightforward approach to estimating on agile projects. This is an example of the estimating profession found on many domains. . NoEstimates Estimating

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Estimates, Forecasts, Projections

Herding Cats

Estimates. An Estimate is a value inferred for a population of values based on data collected from a sample of data from that population. The estimate can also be produced parametrically or through a simulation (Monte Carlo is common, but Method of Moments is another we use). . Estimates can be about the past, present, or future. We can estimate the number of clams in the Pleistocene era that are in the shale formations near our house. Estimate to Complete.

2016 30

Estimating Tools and Resources

Herding Cats

Tools and resources for cost and schedule estimating, when you here estimates are hard, we're bad at estimating, estimates are a waste, estimates are misused All those statements are fallacies. International Cost Estimating and Analysis Association.

2017 17

Cost Estimating Assessment Criteria

Herding Cats

Here are the guidelines for a credible cost estimate (GAO-16-620). 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. Indpenednet cost estimate to compare different estimating methods.

Why Johnny Can't Estimate?

Herding Cats

Since all risk comes from uncertainty - reducible (Epistemic) and irreducible (Aleatory), estimating is a foundation of all we do. There is no discussion of the conjecture that estimates are a waste, estimates can't be done, estimates are evil, estimates must be stopped immediately. To be informed how to estimate in this broad range of domains, problems, and impacts - education, exp[erience, and skill are needed. Gow to avoid common estimating mistakes.

2016 20

Reality of the Value of Estimating

Herding Cats

Avoid software project horror stories - check the reality value of the estimate first from Harold van Heeringen. NoEstimates Estimating Governance

2016 28

Estimating the Risk

Herding Cats

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. Without these estimates, there can be no risk management. Be an adult, make estimates of the future outcomes of your risk informed decisions. . [1] Risk is everywhere on projects.

2017 26

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. .

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.

2016 22

Five Immutable Principles of Project Success and Estimating

Herding Cats

Let's look at what estimates are needed to answer each of the Five questions: Principle. Estimate Needed To Answer The Question. Each requires us to make an estimate of the confidence in the elements of the Plan. You can't apply risk management without estimating.

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.

Governance and Estimating

Herding Cats

make use of estimates in their decision support processes. To suggest Not Estimating can be the basis of those decision making process is to willfully ignore these principles.

Why We Need Estimates

Herding Cats

The ability to generate reliable cost and schedule estimates is a critical success factor necessary to support business projects. Why Guessing is not Estimating and Estimating is not Guessing. Without this ability, business value is at risk of experiencing cost overruns, missed deadlines, and performance shortfalls—all recurring problems that projects assessments too often reveal.

3 Team Techniques to Improve Cost Estimates

Project Risk Coach

Improve buy-in and support for your project budgets Do you ever feel like the Lone Ranger when trying to improve cost estimates? Many project managers are left to their own devices when estimating projects. So, how can we improve our cost estimates?

3 Tips for creating Accurate Project Estimates


Despite the complexities involved, it’s essential to do the very best with your project estimates. Here are our 3 tips for creating accurate project estimates. Industry

Agile Estimating Methods and Impact on Project Development Performance Index

Herding Cats

The presentation " Quantifying the Impact of Agile Practices ," Larry MacCherone at the RallyOn 2013 Conference, presents some results on estimating impacts. Teams doing Full Scrum have 250% better Quality than teams doing No Estimating. How to Estimate Software Development.

Quick Summary of Estimating Advice

Herding Cats

We can't estimate things we've never done before - this is simply not true. If you truley haven't done the work before, you're probabiliy not the right person to be estimating for those wanting to pay you. . Estimates are guesses, because we don't know that the future is - this is a fundamental misunderstanding (either with intent or omission) on how estimates are made. We've never done this before, so how can we possibly estimate how long it will take?

Common Ground for a Conversation about Estimating

Herding Cats

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.

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. But Estimating is NOT Guessing.

How to Estimate Any Software Problem

Herding Cats

ways to make decisions with No Estimates. can we make a decision in the presence of Uncertainty without making an estimate of the impact or outcome of that decision? What would be the evidence that we could make decisions in the presence of uncertanty without estimating the impacts and outcomes of those decisions? . The Myths of No Estimates and the busting of them is one purpose of this blog post. Before we start, let's look with the notion of estimation.

Estimate everything?

Musings on Project Management

Mike Cohn on estimating (from his email blasts): "Because I've written a book on estimating, people seem to think I estimate everything on my product backlog. I ask a team to estimate a product backlog item only when having the estimate will lead to actionably different behavior. So, for example, I might ask a team for an estimate on a user story so that I can decide if I want. agile estimate

3 Formulas for Forecasting Estimate to Complete

PM by PM

Project Forecasting using Estimate to Complete Formulas Consider this scenario. The post 3 Formulas for Forecasting Estimate to Complete appeared first on PM-by-PM. The Project Sponsor and the Project Manager are having a light conversation.

Everyone estimates!

Musings on Project Management

We all make estimates; and we all make estimates all the time. When I make the 20 mile trip each Tuesday to a client site, I estimate adjustments to a baseline based on weather and road construction and if I know about an accident. Really, no one sets out to do anything meaningful without some estimate in mind re time, or cost, or risk; usually we can also notionally estimate the scope. So, agile estimate

Estimating on Non-Trivial Software Projects

Herding Cats

A nice conversation on twitter about estimates on software brought up the topic of estimates as commitments. The #NoEstimates advocates see estimates as making commitments. Yes, commitments are made when we estimate. I have an 80% confidence (an estimate) I can deliver what you need on or before September 15 (an estimate), at or below $15,000.oo (an estimate) with a 15% error band (an estimate). . Estimates are not needed.


Zen Project Management

I started thinking about how common it is for people to not be able to provide good estimates. It was ironic, but part of the work with my client that week was explaining the technique of relative estimates using t-shirt sizes and story points. The team I was working with was new to agile and used to the old way of doing absolute estimates, which as we all know are not as accurate because of things like student syndrome or Parkinson's Law.

Fred P. Brooks on Estimates

Musings on Project Management

There are dozens of quotes from this book floating about, but here's one worth writing down: "It is very difficult to make a vigorous, plausible, and job-risking defense of an estimate that is derived by no. business analysis estimate QuotationsFred Brooks, Jr.'s s "The Mythical Man-month" is still required reading, even if written decades ago. And, as these things go, it has a lot of humor, but also a lot of wit.

Why Ranged Estimates Are More Effective Than Single Point Estimates


This is why making ranged estimates for your projects is more realistic and reliable than aiming for a singular deadline. We use ranged estimates all the time in daily life. The advantage of making ranged estimates. Ranged vs single-point estimates.

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

Herding Cats

One of the escape clauses of #Noestimates is to re-label Forecasting as NOT Estimating , It is forecasting, based on empirical data. This is in comparison for estimating purpose for a theoretical model that produces data, parametric from empirical or theoretical models that produce data.

How Does Probabilistic Estimation Reduce Project Uncertainty?


When you replace fixed-date deterministic scheduling with probabilistic estimations, you’ve got a whole new ball game. Probabilistic estimation is one of the reasons LiquidPlanner is the most realistic project management tool in the world.

Estimating from the master

Musings on Project Management

s "The Mythical Man-month" "It is very difficult to make a vigorous, plausible, and job-risking defense of an estimate that is derived by no quantitative method, supported by little data, and certified chiefly by the hunches of the managers" Bookmark this on Delicious. estimateToday's quote: Here's a quotation that is a favorite of mine drawn from Fred Brooks, Jr.'s

GAO Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide Applied to Agile

Herding Cats

The GAO Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide has 12 steps. Agile Capabilities Decision Making Estimating Governance Management Performance-Based Project Management® Project Management Requirements Risk Root Cause Analysis Scheduling

Improved project billing, planning and price estimates

Paymo App

Accurate price estimates for your clients. You can set up task hourly rates, estimated hours and flat task rates by switching to the advanced view (click on the “Advanced view” icon in the top right corner of the tasks section for the project).

Can You Make a Decision in Presence of Uncertainty Without Estimating?

Herding Cats

They started with “Estimates are a waste, stop doing them.” Those advocates also started with the notion that estimates are a waste for the developers. The size of the “value at risk” is also the starting point for estimates. If the project is small (de minimis) meaning if we over run significantly no one cares, then estimating is likely a waste as well. Next comes an original post from Woody – “you can make decisions with No Estimates.”

Estimating is an Everyday Life and Everyday Projects

Herding Cats

A recent twitter post started out with I predict my train will depart from platform 12 in 10 minutes: degree of predictability correlates with length of time I then asked and what is the evidence on which you base this estimated time of departure? I got back I didn't estimate departure, there is a timetable there, but Trains someone's run late & platform sometimes changes. But in fact - mathematical fact - there was an estimate made. NoEstimates Estimating

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.

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Planning Poker – build accurate estimates for sprints on agile projects

The Digital Project Manager

Planning Poker is a great freemium agile estimation digital card game that enables a collaborative approach for consensus-driven estimating to guide sprint planning. The post Planning Poker – build accurate estimates for sprints on agile projects appeared first on The Digital Project Manager. Play around. General Tools

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.

The Pseudo Science of No Estimates

Herding Cats

estimates are the smell of dysfunction, so let's not estimate and the dysfunction will disappear." Because "we're just developers who can't even make high level estimates how much it will cost and we work for bonehead managers who can't tell the difference between a good estimate and a bad estimate," doesn't have the same ring. This comes to the discussion of Value at Risk and what are estimates for other than to protect Value at Risk.