Estimation – Bad Advice

Here’s a fun article on PMI.org.  By omission, it gives some very bad advice about estimation.  What is it missing?  Asking the people who are going to do the work!!!  Any estimation method or approach that fails to ask the actual human beings who are going to do the work about the effort required is going to be badly wrong.  (Of course, even asking the people who are going to do the work is...

Simulating a Project by Resampling Velocity

I normally write about a new technique only after I’ve used it for a couple of years and have found it successful in a couple of different contexts. In this post I want to share something just such a technique. It’s a statistical technique called “resampling”...

Who Owns the Risk?

Back in my late 20′s I was a project manager in a pretty good sized IT shop. I worked under a great VP that put me in situations that were really beyond my abilities.  He fundamentally believed that I’d do a good job for him. He trusted that I’d learn what...

Seeing How Well a Team’s Story Points Align from One to Eight

The topic of how well a team estimates two point stories relative to one point stories (and so on) has come up in a couple of comments and replies on this blog recently, so let’s discuss it. Here’s a graph showing relevant data from one company: Each column...

The Real Reason We Estimate

Over the past few months, various blog posts have popped up talking about estimation, how estimation is unnecessary, how estimation is waste… and that maybe we should stop estimating entirely and just get down to the business of writing software. If our estimates...

Estimating a Full Backlog Based on a Sample of It

I want to address a question I was sent recently and that I get asked about once a month. The question has to do with how we estimate how many hours it will take to deliver a given product backlog if we have no historical data at all. My first bit of advice is...

Estimating Non-Functional Requirements

A few weeks back I promised someone I would blog about the unique challenges of estimating non-functional requirements. First, let’s remember that a non-functional requirement is a requirement that is more about the state of being of the system than about one...

Why Estimate?

Most people think about estimating as a way to figure out how big stuff is, so we can decide what we are going to build and when we are going to build it. More often than not, I find myself using estimation to help teams figure out what we are NOT going to build....

Determining How Many Task Hours an Agile Team Can Accomplish

Note from Mike… I want to welcome Jim Magers to the LeadingAgile team.  Jim is doing a project with me in Minneapolis, and I asked him to join me here and share some of his experiences from the field.  You can learn more about Jim on his bio page. Your team...

5 Reasons Why You Should Stop Estimating User Stories

1. You don’t waste time on estimation Estimation takes time. Even if you do planning poker and use story points, it still takes time. What do you do to improve estimation accuracy? You gather some data, analyze the data and discuss the results. You are spending...

Agile Estimating in Scrum – Why Estimate Twice?

In my series of posts "How to Implement Scrum in 10 Easy Steps", I refer to two stages of estimating: Step 2 is how to estimate your Product Backlog. Step 4 is estimating tasks in Sprint Planning. Someone recently asked me a very good question - why estimate...

Agile Software Development Estimating Experiment

I recently came across this agile estimating experiment by Lance Walton. The article is quite old now but I still found it very interesting... In recent years, I've had quite a fascination with the concept of velocity and estimating in points. To be honest, it...

Agile Estimating: The Secret To Delivering On Time

For decades, delivering on time has been the holy grail of software development. I've been doing agile software development for quite a few years now. I've seen many benefits, but one of the most remarkable things of all, is how so many teams can quickly get good...