Estimation is the process of finding an estimate, or approximation, which is a value that is usable for some purpose even if input data may be incomplete, uncertain, or unstable.

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172
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13answers
35k views

How to respond when you are asked for an estimate?

We, as programmers, are constantly being asked 'How long will it take'? And you know, the situation is almost always like this: The requirements are unclear. Nobody has done an in depth analysis of ...
27
votes
14answers
2k views

How to learn to make better estimates? [closed]

I suck at estimates. When someone asks me how long something will take, I don't even dare to make a guess since I will be completely off the mark. Usually I'm way too optimistic, and should probably ...
48
votes
36answers
2k views

What can I do to get better at estimating how long projects are going to take? [duplicate]

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 ...
31
votes
12answers
3k views

How possible is it to estimate time for programming projects? [duplicate]

It seems like it is nearly impossible to get close because you could run into any number of issues and things not first anticipated. How close can we be expected to reasonably estimate? Our PM wants ...
69
votes
4answers
4k views

How to estimate the length of a programming task [closed]

What process do you use to estimate how long a (significant) programming task will take. Do you use one or more of the following: intuition/guessing reference to similar tasks whose estimated/actual ...
44
votes
4answers
1k views

How to explain to a non-technical person why the task will take much longer than they think?

Almost every developer has to answer questions from business side like: Why is going to take 2 days to add this simple contact form? When a developer estimates this task, they may divide it into ...
10
votes
10answers
1k views

How do you deal with time estimates? [duplicate]

If given too little time, quality suffers. If given too much time, developers will find a way to use all alloted time, no matter what. What would be a good way with dealing with estimates? Are they a ...
27
votes
8answers
5k views

How do you decide how much your software will cost?

If you are a solo developer, or have a leading role in a software company, you might have to decide how much your software will cost one or another day... What is your experience with calculating how ...
24
votes
4answers
2k views

What are the most relevant books on software project estimation? [closed]

Is there a book out there that's the de-facto standard for describing best practices and other helpful information about software project estimation? What about that book makes it special?
21
votes
10answers
2k views

How to add a new developer to the team

I run a small company composed of only 2 developers. We are building a very big application for one of our clients. Development on this project has gone on for 1.5 years. Now this client has secured ...
9
votes
5answers
999 views

The Relative Cost Efficiency of (Acceptance) Test Driven Development

I would like to know what the overall impact of resource planning on a software project is, where the requirements and design of the project are driven by automated acceptance tests and unit tests, in ...
29
votes
14answers
620 views

Boss doesn't believe my time estimate… advice/backup? [duplicate]

I'm working at a startup software company -- 3 developers, less than 15 employees including the CEO. We deal exclusively with Windows Mobile, the .NET CF, and passing the information gathered from our ...
7
votes
3answers
341 views

Real world Agile practices and estimates

In a perfect world, we tell the client we follow an agile methodology where we allow the scope to increase/decrease as the requirements change and we bill per hour for each iteration. In reality, ...
7
votes
3answers
409 views

Agile estimation with tech-debt

When estimating (story points) a story that consists on extending a current functionality with a known tech-debt, should we consider the effort that will be spent to refactor the current code or ...
6
votes
7answers
971 views

Best way to estimate cost related to porting code from language A to language B?

Have a client thinking about estimating the cost of porting a project from language A to language B. What's the best way to put together an request for proposal to do this?
70
votes
15answers
31k views

Why do we use story points instead of man days when estimating user stories?

In agile methodologies (e.g. SCRUM), the complexity/effort needed for user stories are measured in Story points. Story points are used to calculate how many user stories a team can take in an ...
20
votes
6answers
5k views

What's the best explanation of what Story Points are?

We're starting to use Story Points here for our Agile development but I find it hard to explain and also can't find any definitive answer to what they are. The best thing I can do is point to other ...
24
votes
13answers
1k views

Sales Manager: “Why is time-estimation so complex?” [duplicate]

A few days ago a sales manager asked me that question. But at this moment I didn't know a answer which he can understand. He isn't a programmer! At the moment I work on a product which is over 8 ...
7
votes
9answers
2k views

How to answer “When will it be done?”

We all have it, problems that prove difficult to fix and working out a fix through obscure code and bizarre unexpected functionality. Slowly, logically working your way through trying to find ...
6
votes
3answers
3k views

What is a good estimation technique for initial, high-level estimates?

I'm currently using Planning Poker to do our detailed estimates. This works great but relies upon a fairly detailed work breakdown. Often it takes 6-8 weeks to get a sufficiently detailed design and ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

Should you ever re-estimate user stories?

My current project is having a 'discussion' which is split down the middle- "this story is more complex than we originally thought, we should re-estimate" vs "you should never re-estimate as you only ...
12
votes
8answers
932 views

Should you promise to deliver a feature that you aren't sure if its implementable?

In an article from HN, I came across the following advice: Always tell your customer/user "yes", even if you're not sure. 90% of the time, you'll find a way to do it. 10% of the time, you'll go ...
11
votes
3answers
510 views

How to handle estimates for programmers joining the team?

Iteration has already started, new programmer joins the team, task X has already been estimated to be 30 hours by a different developer. What is the best practice in this situation? new developer ...
10
votes
8answers
975 views

Dealing with estimates as a junior programmer

I have been working for a couple of months now in a company that estimates (for the general population, not juniors specifically) tasks and then we are given the task, solve it, it goes through two ...
9
votes
3answers
632 views

What is the best/ethical way to estimate code clean-up? [duplicate]

I have been working on a product line since my senior year of college for my current employer. Now several years out of college I am in a position where I am giving estimates for change requests on ...
7
votes
3answers
156 views

Considering consistent change, how short of a planning period is too short?

Change is not uncommon, change in requirements, change in specs change in workflow. I've accepted that there will be change, but I wonder: knowing that change is going to happen, how short of a ...
7
votes
2answers
918 views

What's the best way to estimate story points in scrum?

I like the way planning poker works at the beginning of any project, letting you compare and discuss details of each story with one another. One of the issues I've noticed with this is that through ...
6
votes
3answers
350 views

Is it proper to have Investigation task in sprint

I have been practicing agile for more than a year now. As part of our sprint, some times we will have Investigation Tasks. We skip poker planning for theses tasks, and adds blanket numbers. Theses ...
6
votes
3answers
362 views

What are the most relevant books on software task estimation for individuals?

What books have you read that helped you, as a programmer, learn to estimate time for completing small-to-medium programming tasks, such as bug fixes or implementing new features? Which have you the ...
5
votes
2answers
549 views

Is it okay to add time for “unexpected delays” to a time estimate?

I've landed my first contract (hooray, self employment!) and the company is asking for time estimates. Programmers are notoriously bad at time estimates, and I know I've been laughably wrong ...
4
votes
3answers
334 views

How to infer my Assumptions I based my time estimate on?

In an answer on how to make time estimates it is said to write down all your assumptions you made when estimating a project. Seems like a good plan. Problem is, by assuming I already made an ass out ...
0
votes
2answers
172 views

estimation method at the “just finished definition phase”

We are basically using Waterfall life cycle methodology. Requirement Analysis: I get a use case created by some one else. Design (talking only about Low level design): I get some little feeling about ...
0
votes
1answer
352 views

What are the best practices and strategies for transferring an outsourced software development project in-house? [closed]

What are the best methods of knowledge transfer? What kinds of documentation should be expected? What activities should take place before and after handover, both by the external party and ...