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Examples

Example 8: Estimating

It might be that one of the things you have to do in your job is that exciting blood sport known as estimating. I call it a blood sport because, in estimating, you have to be able to predict the future. How successfully you do this will, more or less, determine your career progression and success. In the past I have taught estimating, and one of the things I often did during those classes was hold up a schedule (which was based on estimates) in one hand and a lottery ticket in the other and ask the class, “What do these have in common?” (Somebody once muttered, “If I won the lottery I wouldn't have to do any more of these stupid schedules!”) What they have in common is that they are both predictions of the future. We'd all like to feel that when we produce an estimate, the odds of it happening are better than those of picking a winning lottery ticket. (Although, I've definitely seen estimates where the smart money would have been on the lottery ticket!)

The tools just described are the things you need to help you build accurate, resilient estimates. In general, when estimating, people are concerned with three things:


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