Wednesday, April 15, 2009

In My Estimation

There I was at my first real programming job and my team lead comes by and drops a bomb. "How long will it take to make the change?", he asks. I hope I kept the panic from my face. "Wait a minute!", I was thinking, "Did I miss the class on estimation in college?" No, I didn't. They didn't have one. Hmmm, what do I tell my boss, "sorry, can't help you!", "I have no idea", or even better "they didn't teach that in school"? If I close my eyes and pull a number out of my estimation orifice I could look like a ill-trained idiot programmer by guessing too high or try to please by low-balling it which could easily backfire. Why did I want to be a programmer again, someone remind me. It surely wasn't to look incompetent to a guy that hasn't coded in over 20 years.

Why is estimation still so hard and what are we doing about it?
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1 comment:

  1. I dread estimates every time I have to provide them, which is often. Usually I just try to break the project down into chunks at most 5 hours long and hope for the best.

    Estimation is one reason I don't do Ruby on Rails development. That thing is either "15 minutes" or "15 weeks" and I never can tell which. ;-)


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