Johanna Rothman’s take on estimation

Here’s some sage advice from Johanna Rothman’s “Managing Product Development” blog:

  1. Never, ever, ever provide a single date for a project or a single point for a budget without a range or a confidence level.
  2. Expect to iterate on the release date and on the budget, and train your managers to expect that from you.
  3. If you get a ranked feature set, you can provide working product in the order in which your managers want the work done, while you keep refining your estimates. This has to be good for everyone.
  4. If you can say this without being patronizing, practice saying, “Remember, the definition of estimate is guess.”

I urge you to read the whole of the post – it’s a good précis of the difficulties in estimating budgets and timescales. I’m looking forward to future posts in the series. The home page of her “Managing Product Development” blog can be found here.

Update 3rd November

Johanna has posted the second part of this series.

Update 8th November

Johanna has posted the third and fourth parts of the series.