We use cookies and other similar technologies (Cookies) to enhance your experience and to provide you with relevant content and ads. By using our website, you are agreeing to the use of Cookies. You can change your settings at any time. Cookie Policy.

Estimating time is one of the most challenging aspects of Agile. To deliver quality products on time and according to scope not only requires a talented team but also a consistently clear view of the work effort and progress throughout the sprint.



Unfortunately, too many Agile teams rely on estimation methods that obscure rather than reflect reality. And bad estimates create a hazardous blind spot that can easily compromise sprint success. By rethinking the way you make estimates, you can prevent team crippling blind spots with honest estimates that optimize sprint planning and execution.

First, let's clarify what we mean by honest vs. dishonest schedules. Your schedule is probably lying to you if:

  • It is fed with bad estimates
  • It is unable to adapt to change

So, what makes an estimate bad? Bad estimates all have one thing in common: they don't accurately reflect reality. And if you feed a sprint plan unreliable estimates, you get an unreliable schedule. As they say: garbage in, garbage out.

There are three kinds of bad estimates that are particularly bothersome because they are so widely used by development teams of all shapes and sizes.

Bad Estimate #1. Estimates Based on "Story Points"

Story points represent units of relative size that many Agile teams use to estimate software requirements. That story points are so widely used for estimating time in Agile development, is a bit of a mystery. Why? Because story points don't translate to schedule time. In fact, they don't have anything to do with the way real people even think about time. This means that teams have to establish their own translation guidelines for story points which thwarts efficiency and invites misinterpretation. It also makes it difficult to collaborate with stakeholders who donít use or understand story points.

Bad Estimate #2. Blatantly Unrealistic Estimates

Development teams are under a lot of pressure from business owners who want to ship product as quickly as humanly (or not humanly) possible. To get business owners off their backs, developers tend to over-commit and enter overly optimistic (read: unrealistic) estimates. Unrealistic estimates create problems for everyone.

For starters, they create idealistic schedules that look good on paper but have little utility or relevance to reality. And, since an overly optimistic estimate provides a best-case-only scenario, there is nowhere to go when a delay creeps in, which means the whole schedule gets botched. Finally, the expectation of business owners that optimistic is better than realistic can stress the capacity of development teams to an unhealthy breaking point, which threatens both morale and product quality.

-1-

1  2  

   Next Page

Explore Our Topics

  • EDITOR'S BRIEFING
  • Virtual Conferences
  • Webinars
  • Roundtables

BPM in Action

March 10, 2011

The sixth annual BPM in Action 2011 Virtual Conference will explore cutting-edge market developments in BPM and describe how to leverage them for improved business operation and performance. More

View All Virtual Conferences

Smart Case Management: Why It's So Smart.

Date:Nov 05, 2009
Time:12:00 PM ET- (17:00 GMT)

REGISTER TODAY!

Date:Oct 29, 2009
Time:15:00 PM ET- (19:00 GMT)

REGISTER TODAY!
View All Roundtables
  • Research Library
  • Podcasts
  • News

Joe McKendrick: Part II of II: Designing Evolve-ability into SOA and IT Systems

In part two of Joe McKendrick's recent podcast with Miko Matsumura, chief strategist for Software AG, they talk about how SOA and IT systems need to change and grow and adapt with the organization around it.

Listen Now

Phil Wainewright: Helping Brands Engage with Social Media

Phil Wainewright interviews David Vap, VP of products at RightNow Technologies, and finds out how sharing best practices can help businesses understand how best to engage with online communities.

Listen Now

Peter Schooff: Making Every IT Dollar Result in a Desired Business Outcome: Scott Hebner of IBM Rati

Scott Hebner, Vice President of Marketing and Strategy for IBM Rational, discusses a topic on the top of every company's mind today: getting the most from IT investments.

Listen Now

Jessica Ann Mola: Where Will BI Fit In? Lyndsay Wise Explains

In BI, this tough economy and the increasing role of Web 2.0 and MDM are certainly topics on people's minds today. WiseAnalytics' Lyndsay Wise addresses each of them in this informative podcast.

Listen Now

Dennis Byron: Talking with...Deepak Singh of BPM Provider Adeptia

Deepak Singh, President and CTO of Adeptia, joins ebizQ's Dennis Byron in a podcast that gets its hand around the trend of industry-specific BPM.

Listen Now
More Podcasts
  • Most Popular
  • Quick Guide
  • Most Discussed

Quick Guide: What is BPM?

Learn More

Quick Guide: What is Event Processing?

Smart event processing can help your company run smarter and faster. This comprehensive guide helps you research the basics of complex event processing (CEP) and learn how to get started on the right foot with your CEP project using EDA, RFID, SOA, SCADA and other relevant technologies. Learn More

Quick Guide: What is Enterprise 2.0?

A lot of people are talking about Enterprise 2.0 as being the business application of Web 2.0 technology. However, there's still some debate on exactly what this technology entails, how it applies to today's business models, and which components bring true value. Some use the term Enterprise 2.0 exclusively to describe the use of social networking technologies in the enterprise, while others use it to describe a web economy platform, or the technological framework behind such a platform. Still others say that Enterprise 2.0 is all of these things. Learn More