Thursday, September 16

Developer Estimation: Good or Evil?

In some projects, estimation seems be harmful to the team members where in other environments it can be benificial.

The important difference is how you use the number. If you are using the number as a commitment to complete a task in a specific time or tracking individual developers success or failure against an estimate, then you have a problem.

If, on the other hand, you use the number as a rough guide you are better off. Even better if you use the sum total of everyones estimates to get a holistic picture for planning.

Why is this second way better? Because if you are using the first technique, you are setting people up to fail. Developers will often fail to deliver to their original "promise" and this is stressful, demoralising and unnessesary.

Mike Williams has written this post on how the name you use for your estimates can also effect how they are percieved.


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