Friday, October 22

The pen is mightier than the spreadsheet

Brian has just blogged about a burn down chart, he says:
"My chart differs from Kelly's in that I removed some extrapolated lines he uses. I like to get away with as few predictions as possible. To emphasize that, I hand-drew the one prediction. That makes the line seem less authoritative and believable than one Excel draws, which is appropriate."
When your sponsors are making financial decisions based on your reports, you want to make it clear that the predicted end-date is just a guess, not a calculation.
This concept has some similarity to the idea of fuzzy vs hard analysis and lo-fi prototyping, and is probably even more important for project reporting than requirements gathering.
Incidently, this is why I dont like function points and other calculated estimates, I prefer a hand written number on an index card: it is clear this is just a gut feel. It makes it much harder to leap to the wrong conclusion (that reality will somehow match up to the plan).

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ben,

True a hand-scrawled estimate on an index card does smack of "estimate" as opposed to "bet the farm on it", but the hurdle I've thus far been unable to clear is the weight that the "estimate" gains as it goes from your desk to BA's brain, to customer's notepad to customer's boss' status report to some budget predictions somewhere in the bowels of the Finance department.

Maybe I've been consulting with too many large companies of late, but I literally cannot be present at every opportunity that my estimate is conveyed as a figure of increasing accuracy until it becomes as certain as death and taxes.

Andy

2:12 pm  
Blogger St Louis Cardinals BUFF said...

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7:25 am  
Blogger Katrina said...

Great info. I've now subscribed to this blog feed so I can access it within my rapid prototyping machine site. This will make your blog one click away for me.

12:58 pm  
Blogger Katbo said...

Is this blog feed live? I'd like to subscribe to it using my aggregator. It's possible that my site rapid prototyping can get your feed automatically so I can keep up with our design and cnc posts here.

1:53 am  
Blogger Katbo said...

Great info. I've now subscribed to your blog feed so I can access it from my rapid prototyping tooling site. I should make it easier to read when I'm busy. Thanks.

11:47 am  
Blogger Katbo said...

Great info. I've now subscribed to your blog feed so I can access it from my sheet metal prototyping site. I should make it easier to read when I'm busy. Thanks.

1:02 pm  
Blogger Katbo said...

Is this blog feed live? I'd like to subscribe to it using my aggregator. It's possible that my site rapid prototyping can get your feed automatically so I can keep up with our design and cnc posts here.

3:17 pm  

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