On estimating...

jar beans

I’ ve read a post from Esther Derby blog where she argues that (simply put):

  • the activity of estimating is usefull
  • the outcomes - the estimates - often are not

The reason is simple: when we estimate we gather more and more insights about the “what” we are estimating, often clarifying and further refine our guess. And that - obviously - is really good from a project management perspective. But there is also a “dark side”: the outcomes - the estimates - are often misused.

I think the last point is particularly critical: if we don’t use effectively - or valorize adequately - the estimates, the process of producing it will suffer. It obvious: why do I have to invest time in estimating when the estimates are not used - or simply mistrusted? One implicit answer would be: to gain more insights on the “what”. That’s ok… but it’s a nice side effect.

Improving our estimation capabilities could help all us to be more predictive about our results. So estimates usage and refinement is necessary feedback for the first activity.


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