Effort Estimation: Craftsmanship Instead of Chance
Time to Read 7 min
"Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable" Dwight D. Eisenhower
Planning is one of those things. Almost everyone would rather start working, programming, right away. And how to find out how long the project will take? Things always turn out differently than thought!
I am convinced that a good plan is definitely worthwhile, even if it cannot usually be implemented to the letter. The plan leads you to once think through the project with its dependencies and risks and understand it so deeply that you can react correctly when the inevitable changes occur.
The basis of all project plans in development is the estimation: how much work, how much effort must be put into the project. There are many methods and models for this. We have developed two basic methods from them, which will enable you to plan your development projects realistically as well.
First a method for estimation for the classical case, when a detailed specification for a product is already worked out and the steps to the final product are mostly defined, the project estimation. Later, for the not uncommon case that nothing is available except a rough sketch of an idea on a few pages – or even only one – the rough estimation.
On this page you will find some basic considerations about the two methods:
- With system or gut feeling? A few considerations on chance or craft
- At what point is a systematic estimation worthwhile? We find: quite soon
- What is the basic procedure? How do the estimations run roughly
- When to use which estimation method? When to use rough estimation, when to use project estimation?
And here are the other blogs with the detailed methods and additional information:
- Project Estimation with WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) incl. a template for a spreadsheet
- Rough Order of Mangnitude (ROM) Estimation with FBS (Functional Breakdown Structure): a software tool which we offer as freeware if there is enough interest, please comment below if you are interested
- Practical Estimation: some general tips and tricks
- Planning Poker Cards: for the actual expert estimation
- Models: the statistical models and distributions on which the methods are based
And for consumers of such estimates, we have summarized the key points in Effort Estimations for Managers: what to consider before using such numbers for planning.
| Jeff Clement
I would like to evaluate the FBS estimating tool.
Thank you for the interest. At the moment we are still collecting "votes".