Wednesday, April 29, 2009

An Estimate By Any Other Name

Terri Vajdi, a colleague of mine, sent me this response to my post on estimating. She always had the most thorough estimates I've seen in my career, so I have a lot of respect for what she has to say.

Since I drill down to assume the details of the requirements when it's missing, I equate this to all the missed requirements to a certain percentage. I read the requirements and try to envision the amount of code, junits, number of iterations, and unit testing for each iteration, Code Review and implementing the changes based on the Code Review, etc...
So, I come up with an estimate for each of these and then multiply it by the percentage/factor for the missing pieces. Add this the estimate for the missing pieces to my estimate to come up with the estimate that I turn over to my manager. In majority of cases, I break even and come close to the estimate that I have given. Of course, this is with putting a lot of overtime to meet my estimate. Remember we do not live in and ideal world and there are a lot of mishaps. This is just my two cents. Of course, I'm a quality oriented individual and I do not like to revisit my code once it's in Production. I figure that number of iterations after it has gone to Production is very very expensive. I'd rather spent it up front. So far, I've been able to stick to my methodology and have been able to spend my time wisely on other assignments once the code is in Production.
Sometimes I'm too eager and go light on my estimates which would mean even more work later and for which I've been criticized when the unknown issues would crop up and the project would run late. Terri has the right idea. She passed along this link:

Anyone else have "Estimation Stories" to share?
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