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I don't want to make life hard for management. I really don't. They're nice enough guys, but every time I am assigned a new project or task and get asked "how long do you think it will take to do this" I end up sputtering off ridiculous timeframes; "between a day and three weeks".
I would like to believe that it's not entirely my fault: I am the company's sole programmer, I am relatively new to proper development (Was it only six months ago that I wrote my first unit test? sigh...), and I am working with a code base that at times is downright absurd.
So I would like some advice. Obviously, experience is the biggest thing I lack but anything that would make me better would be greatly appreciated. I am looking for reading material, methodologies, maybe even actual tools. Any way that I can give my boss more accurate information without having to sit down and design the darn thing first is appreciated.
Ok magic stackoverflow genie, what have you got for me?
@Vaibhav and others suggesting I take time to research and sketch out the system
I agree with you in principle, but how do you balance that with real-world constraints? When you're a one man show or even a part of a small team "I will need 2 days to build an estimate" is a real deterrent when you can fight 4 fires in the time it takes to get a simple estimate.