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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

207
votes
13answers
46k 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 ...
77
votes
15answers
37k 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 ...
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 ...
55
votes
19answers
3k views

Dealing with awful estimates

A recent project I worked on was proven to be severely underestimated by the architect. The estimate was out by at least 500%. Unfortunately I was brought onto the project after the estimate had ...
52
votes
36answers
3k 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 ...
49
votes
4answers
2k views

How can you estimate time for tasks which primarily consist of figuring out a problem?

While it is relatively possible for an experienced developer to estimate how long it will take to implement code when the pattern and problem the code is solving is well understood, how can you make a ...
49
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
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 ...
30
votes
14answers
769 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 ...
29
votes
14answers
3k 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 ...
27
votes
8answers
6k 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 ...
26
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 ...
26
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?
24
votes
5answers
5k views

Am I programming too slow? [closed]

I've only been a year in the industry and I've had some problems making estimates for specific tasks. Before you close this, yes, I've already read this: ...
22
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 ...
20
votes
9answers
743 views

What do you think of “Planning Poker”? [closed]

Planning Poker Summary, in case you don't want to read the wiki article: Get a list of tasks you want to do for the upcoming iteration For each task: 2.1 Discuss with the group what it entails 2.2 ...
20
votes
6answers
6k 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 ...
19
votes
2answers
389 views

Has research been done on the effectiveness of Planning Poker as an estimation technique?

Although it is a commonly held opinion that planning poker improves the accuracy of project estimations (a small sample of which demonstrated on this question), has any defined research been done on ...
18
votes
5answers
6k views

Scrum - how to carry over a partially complete User Story to the next Sprint without skewing the backlog

We're using Scrum and occasionally find that we can't quite finish a User Story in the sprint in which it was planned. In true Scrum style, we ship the software anyway and consider including the User ...
17
votes
4answers
1k views

How to Determine # of Programmers needed for a project

How do you know how many programmers a particular project needs to be successful? The company I work for fulfills orders for client companies. We have written an in-house warehouse management ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

Is it Ok to change estimates in the middle of an iteration?

We have started using Agile/Scrum in a team of 4 developers. We did our story estimations and ordered the stories Primed stories in the product backlog. We started with the point based estimation on ...
12
votes
8answers
938 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 ...
12
votes
8answers
1k 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 ...
12
votes
7answers
642 views

Is there really a relationship between number of people assigned to a project and the number of defects?

Here is a quote from a training manual at work regarding SLIM and software estimation: Notice also, there is a correlation between Effort and Defects. This means, the more people there are ...
11
votes
3answers
538 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 ...
11
votes
6answers
703 views

How can I estimate projects when I need to include a learning curve for new technology?

Sometimes, there are research and development projects where nothing is known in advance about the technology, concepts, and client. However, the manager still needs time estimates. What can I do to ...
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 ...
10
votes
10answers
841 views

User stories are too high level and conceptual, management expects developers to fill in the blanks

I am employed in a very brilliant company with a true intention of doing XP. Communication is good and management is open to constructive discussion but due to pressing time constraints, some certain ...
10
votes
4answers
347 views

How do I account for changed or forgotten tasks in an estimate?

To handle task-level estimates and time reporting, I have been using (roughly) the technique that Steve McConnell describes in Chapter 10 of Software Estimation. Specifically, when the time comes for ...
10
votes
4answers
355 views

Handling “related” work within a single agile work item

I'm on a project team of 4 devs, myself included. We've been having a long discussion on how to handle extra work that comes up in the course of a single work item. This extra work is usually things ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

How can I estimate the value of an open-source project?

I am trying to generate a metric for a company cost savings goal. To do this, I want to estimate the savings we realized by using an open source web application rather than building it from scratch or ...
9
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
9
votes
5answers
773 views

Scrum re-estimation of stories

Every day, after the stand-up, my team and I update our estimates for each story. I have a feeling that there is something wrong with the way we do it, so I need your help. This is how we do: Story ...
9
votes
4answers
546 views

What could be a good team building activity to improve estimation skills? [closed]

I'm putting together a presentation to deliver to some of my teammates (all developers), and I'd like to include a short team building activity that focuses on improving estimation skills. Does anyone ...
9
votes
3answers
655 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
312 views

Who pays for learning curve?

For those of us in consulting OR settings where you bill your hours whats the consensus on this? Should a client be billed for a certain amount of the learning curve? Should your employer be picking ...
8
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 ...
7
votes
6answers
402 views

Project estimation with increasing requirements

Making a project estimation with given a requirements set is one thing. But, what happens when the user suddenly starts changing them on the fly and starts adding new requirements to the already ...
7
votes
7answers
637 views

How detailed is the estimate you show your customers?

For custom software, when you are giving your customer an estimate, how much detail do you tend to include? Do you: break it down into small tasks that can be done in a few hours and give them ...
7
votes
3answers
437 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 ...
7
votes
5answers
660 views

CRM: In-House vs. OTS

Many, many years ago, when I was young and naive and wrote everything from scratch unless it came with the language, I was working for a company with two sales people in two locations who were trying ...
7
votes
3answers
348 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
5k views

How to estimate sprint velocity with varying team capacity?

We are a small team of 4 devs rather green in Scrum. Coming from all over the country, we often take odd days off or whole weeks off to go home. Therefore our team capacity changes dramatically from ...
7
votes
2answers
960 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 ...
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 ...
6
votes
3answers
432 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
4answers
415 views

Do you track progress during a agile sprint (iteration)

We have recently adopted (or are trying) to adopt managing our projects in an Agile manner. During our first sprint I asked our Scrum master (who also happens to be our primary resident Agile go-to ...
6
votes
7answers
1k 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?
6
votes
6answers
2k views

How many user stories per person should be completed per sprint? [closed]

Just ran across this figure, and wondering if there's another well know source than would help confirm these numbers: Based on data I analyzed on successfully finished sprints, I determined that ...
6
votes
5answers
558 views

Software cost estimation

I've seen on my work place (a University) most students making the software estimation cost of their final diploma work using COCOMO. My guessing is that this way of estimating costs is somewhat old ...