Rants, rambles, news and notes from another geek

Tracking Actual Work Done vs Estimated Work Remaining

I see this get discussed all the time on some of the agile aliases I’m on.

I care how much time is left, not how much time you spent on it.

I know people like to talk about “using the data to make our estimating better” but there are flaws in that argument that just can’t be ignored:

  1. Nobody ever does it. In fact, I don’t even know of a process to achieve this. Hollering at people who over/under estimate is not an improvement process.
  2. It assumes you can make developer estimates better. More experienced developers estimate better, that I’ll take as a given, but can you accelerate this with novice/junior developers or testers? I don’t think so.
  3. Software is NOT like mechanical engineering. It is a craft. Every activity you do is very likely the first time you’ve done it exactly that way. So our inability to accurately and precisely estimate shouldn’t be all that surprising.

At least that’s how I see it. :)