Are You For or Against Estimates

2 Comments

Today, I spent the day at the AgileDialogs Unconference.  The goal was dialog over debate. The theme?  “Agile Predictions: Exploring the tools for making sound business decisions with & without estimates”

The question is, are you for or against estimates?

Given the clients I work with, I find value in estimates.   Given the clients and organizations other attendees represent, some of them were against estimates.  I believe if you’re going to debate a point of view or hold a strong opinion about something, you need to listen and understand someone who feels as adamant about the opposite view.  With that, the day was filled with many passionate discussions.

I’m not going to go into great details about the event in this post. I’m going to save that for LeadingAgile.

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2 Replies to “Are You For or Against Estimates”

  1. I have yet to hear a senior decision maker say that estimates are not necessary. Nor have I heard an advocate of #NoEstimates offer an example of a situation where they, as a consumer, would be comfortable with no estimates from, say, an auto mechanic or a company putting in a swimming pool.

    Estimates allow for shared risk and tradeoffs. A fixed price for specific deliverables transfers delivery risk to the performer, at a price premium. But the most common depiction of #NoEstimates that I’ve heard is tantamount to a fixed price, no specific list of deliverables. It assumes that there is no competition on the supply side, no tradeoffs to be made on the purchasing side, and all performance risk is borne by the consumer. While that might be a viable model in a bureaucracy, in a competitive, commercial environment, not so much.

    1. Dave, I come from the same position as you. I can’t imagine a senior decision maker ever feeling comfortable with having no estimate. Without an estimate, how do they budget? Without an estimate, how do they know if the effort is a good investment? There wasn’t a single instance that I shifted from my position, given my experiences.

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