This post has been prompted a (short) Twitter conversation between myself and Craig Jarrow.
The story starts a little over 2 weeks before that conversation, when I went the other way. I had been toying with WunderKit but not getting any serious use out of it, so I spent some of my weekend moving my task lists and tasks into WunderKit. I was going to ditch Wunderlist and work exclusively from the new kid on the block.
One of the major drivers for the transfer to Wunderkit was to try and work out what Wunderkit actually is. Is it a replacement for Wunderlist? Is it a replacement for BaseCamp? Both? Neither? I was imagining it as a replacement for some or all of my other GTD and project management tools. (I now know better – read on.)
Here’s some sage advice from Johanna Rothman’s “Managing Product Development” blog:
- Never, ever, ever provide a single date for a project or a single point for a budget without a range or a confidence level.
- Expect to iterate on the release date and on the budget, and train your managers to expect that from you.
- 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.
- 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.