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Questions tagged [estimation]

For questions about the estimation of the project's parameters, such as time or cost.

143
votes
18answers
87k views

Why use story points instead of hours for estimating?

After using hours to estimate our projects for a long time and rarely coming within 20% of actual "work-to-ship," I have been told by a handful of people that "points" work a lot better at gauging the ...
88
votes
9answers
37k views

How to estimate amount of work/man hours for an unfamiliar task?

Sooner or later we come across a task in our project, with which we are totally unfamiliar ('we' as in PM, but also possibly the staff assigned to do this particular task). How can we estimate ...
31
votes
10answers
3k views

How do you deal with continuous work pressure?

I'm working as a QA for software product development. During the course of our meetings we typically discuss what tasks we are going to do and provide an estimate for each task. My manager has a habit ...
28
votes
12answers
1k views

How do I stop going over my estimates?

I consistently underestimate my work. I'm gaining a bad reputation for it. I want to get past it. I think the main problem is that I don't fully outline every step that needs to be taken. The first ...
24
votes
7answers
1k views

How can a new PM manage a failing project in a few hours per week?

I am working as a beginning scientist and was given the management role for a small project (5 internal scientists, 1-2 external software contractors). What are the absolute essentials I need to ...
22
votes
4answers
4k views

Task estimation for PMs who are not developers

While working Agile, how can a PM estimate a task when he/she is not a developer?
22
votes
10answers
2k views

Is estimating a project without basic requirements or user stories a good idea for a fixed cost proposal?

I am currently trying to create an estimate for a software proposal. In this context, we are requesting a fixed cost amount of funds. I personally lean toward Agile development practices. I, however,...
22
votes
7answers
19k views

How do you schedule delivery dates in Scrum?

I've run into a constant issue. When a project starts, the client typically has a list of functionalities to be built in to the application. As a team we would like to follow Scrum. But the next thing ...
22
votes
7answers
5k views

Why use both story points and hours?

I'm a new scrum master for a team that is using story point estimation and hours. We do story points first during grooming and then hours during planning. I always thought of story points as being ...
21
votes
1answer
1k views

Fogbugz Evidence Based Scheduling

Has any one in the community used 'evidence-based scheduling' by Fogcreek's fogbugz to come up with estimates and schedules on your real projects? I understand the basis of this technique (well ...
20
votes
6answers
13k views

Where should design be incorporated in an agile process?

We use a scrum-based agile development process. But where should design get incorporated? Separate user stories? Tasks on stories? We currently think of design as a separate task and break it out as ...
20
votes
5answers
3k views

Why are estimates treated like deadlines?

This is one thing that I've always taken as a given, the "status quo" in my line of field (software development) but never really gave it a deep thought. And even now that I do, I still don't ...
19
votes
5answers
4k views

How should a team handle disagreements about story-point estimates in Scrum?

During estimation, the Product Owner presents a user story that seems clear to a team that usually knows their strengths and weaknesses, and that is not hostile. What should the Scrum Master do if the ...
19
votes
4answers
8k views

In Scrum, how to estimate research stories?

In our Scrum team, when there is uncertainty about a story or the team is not sure about how to implement it, we take up a research story first. Based on the findings of this research story, we are ...
18
votes
7answers
1k views

Estimating when the development team won't estimate

I'm new to a situation where a development team refuse to estimate anything until they have a fully defined spec. My angle to obtain estimates is to provide just enough of a spec so they can provide ...
18
votes
4answers
3k views

Budgeting in an agile project

I'm really confused on how agile projects are budgeted for cost and effort before the project starts. Cause the user stories are never completely discussed and estimated as a practice in agile. So if ...
18
votes
5answers
437 views

How should I account for non-coding time when estimating duration of a coding task?

I was wondering whether this approach I am doing to scheduling dev work on a day to day basis is correct. In which I assume that instead that a developer has 8 hours a day to do coding, they actually ...
17
votes
5answers
633 views

Deliver results when finished significantly prior to the agreed deadline?

In the seldom cases where your project (or milestone) completion estimation was too pessimistic, do you deliver results right away? If not, which tasks do you assign your team members in the meantime? ...
16
votes
7answers
484 views

Project complete but does not really satisfy the end users. Business owners unhappy

Some background on the project: I recently completed a project for a company. The project was a fairly large line of business web site. The customer was a company with no prior experience ...
15
votes
9answers
4k views

How to deal with a team member who constantly overestimates

In an ideal world using Scrum we are all supposed to take part in the iteration planning, select tasks and stories, from the groomed backlog. You then have a planning meeting where everyone comes ...
15
votes
5answers
538 views

How to estimate a project involving unfamiliar skillsets

We are trying to generate an initial estimate to see if a project is viable. The problem is that the project involves configuring and customising an open source product that the development team have ...
15
votes
7answers
12k views

How can developers and testers agree on story point estimates?

Previously we used duration for each story, but in our current sprint we are using story points (effort) keeping test team effort separate from the development team effort. Story points are based on ...
15
votes
5answers
347 views

How to determine how good someone estimates their time?

I am very often in an environment where the employees performing the work are constantly rolling over to new employees and these employees are allowed to estimate on their own how long tasks will take....
15
votes
4answers
383 views

Who pays for learning curve?

Should a client be billed for a certain amount of the learning curve? Should an employer pick up the tab on overhead? Should it be the developer themselves? Or perhaps a combination of all three? I ...
15
votes
2answers
10k views

Basis of Estimate

Some consider the BOE the most important part of an estimate. How do you know that, when you write one, you hit the necessary aspects that brings confidence to the reader that the estimate is sound? ...
14
votes
7answers
451 views

How can I make unit testing a priority?

As a one man band delivering smallish web development projects, I found that nearly all regression issues that clients find in the final development phase of the project could be found with unit tests ...
14
votes
6answers
3k views

In scrum should incomplete stories be re-estimated or does the original estimate get burned down when it's finally completed?

If I have a story that's been estimated at 10 story points and we don't manage to complete it in a sprint how do you handle estimates for the sprint in which it's next included (assuming it gets ...
13
votes
5answers
435 views

Discerning estimate validity

I've had experiences in the past where different developers will give different qualities of estimates--which then have to be consolidated into a single project plan--only with a twist. One ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

when a software project is behind schedule should we add manpower?

When an essential software project is behind schedule we might naturally add manpower. The new developer, however competent and however quickly recruited, needs additional training from an ...
13
votes
5answers
660 views

A practical way to estimate a project cost ( I mean time cost)?

What is the practical way to estimate the time required for a project ( I am a web developer working alone most of the time) I find difficulties in estimating tasks and projects,
13
votes
6answers
629 views

Advice for a young programmer on creating programming estimates

I'm a young programmer who has recently gotten a job at a company that is small but loves programming estimates. Since giving good estimates has been a problem for me in the past I'm happy about this ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

Should velocity increase with time?

Some scrum masters are concerned with "bumping up" a team's velocity during a sprint, as if a higher velocity is better. But points are a relative measure of the work that a team needs to do for ...
13
votes
4answers
957 views

Forecasting Story Points in Agile

Are there any methods to fairly estimate story points for a project before deep diving into the planning poker part. I am asking this because sometimes at project initiation it helps to know the ...
13
votes
4answers
261 views

Eliciting Requirements as a Client

Background: I am a computer science student and am currently employed as a programmer for a health institution. Recently we discovered the need for a project which is beyond a 1-man job (I am their ...
12
votes
9answers
1k views

What tools can help me estimate a project length?

I need a way to make fast estimates: For example I'd like to know how long it takes to take a mobile device from nothing to production... let say that a customer wants a IPHONE like product(scope) ......
12
votes
3answers
36k views

What does person-month mean in development time?

I have a question about communication channels that is talking about person-month but I don't understand what is a person-month. Does it mean this many persons? or this many months? Here is the full ...
12
votes
3answers
615 views

How can I improve a project schedule on a project I took over and complete it on time?

I just took over a project from a Project Engineer and just saw a revised project schedule. The revised schedule shows the project will be delayed by 3 months. I am trying to complete it within the ...
12
votes
6answers
667 views

Why use iterations in Scrum?

I am a Scrum Master in a 7 person team. We currently use one-week iterations for our sprints. I find that sprint planning overhead is huge (2 hours each week for entire team), and not nearly as ...
12
votes
6answers
542 views

What level of analysis should the development team expect before being asked to estimate and develop a story?

Here is an example of s story that recently made its way into a timebox. As an Ecommerce Executive, I want to make improvements to the Request a Callback form which will make it easier to segment the ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

Is it possible to forecast when a scrum team will complete the product backlog?

This question is related to this question but I couldn't find this part answered there. I am part of a large project whose entire product backlog has been sized in story-points. The estimate is ...
11
votes
7answers
2k views

Accuracy of Estimates

Aclear16, on an answer from another question, brought up the notion of accuracy of estimates. In my view, this notion is nonsensical; however, we talk about this often in PM circles. In an ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Is there any published research about story points vs time estimation?

We're getting started with Scrum and have had a few debates about whether we should estimate in story points or ideal hours. The team is pretty divided, so I'd like to know if any real studies have ...
11
votes
5answers
891 views

How to estimate time required and deadlines for creative and problem-solving tasks?

How to quantify time requirements for tasks that are almost purely problem-solving or creative? And how to set deadlines based on those estimates? Practical scenario in my team: Steve must find a ...
10
votes
7answers
374 views

When is a piece of work too small to justify a PM?

I used to work in an organisation that set a limit of 20 days effort, below which a task would be allocated to a technical lead who would be told to "just get on with it". Above this size, the work ...
10
votes
3answers
615 views

How to use Story Points, if User Stories are completely different?

Story Points (SP) is a good measurement, that allows estimating User Stories. SP (in my understanding, it's an important note) is convenient because it is relative and not related with time. All ...
10
votes
5answers
947 views

Can planning poker in very heterogeneous teams help estimate user stories accurately?

Picture a very heterogeneous team, where every member knows just his/her field or just a part of his/her field and very very limited part of some other fields. Does it makes sense to do the ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

Agile/scrum - tracking time spent in current iteration towards stories from the next iteration if all current stories are done

Our team has been slowly trying to go towards agile, and like many other teams, up to this point, the question of "what do we do when we actually finish all commitments?" is fairly new and foreign to ...
10
votes
3answers
559 views

Relevant metrics for issue closure estimation

What metrics can influence or help with such an estimation? I am mostly interested in applying such metrics on GitHub projects, using their issues history. Based on how fast they solved their ...
10
votes
4answers
253 views

Estimation, Targets, and Performance

Assuming that your team does a great job building its estimates and using a probabilistic approach versus a deterministic approach, and finds that the scope of work will take between 12 to 18 months ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

How can I track team member utilization across a range of projects?

I have a fixed-sized team (with fixed-hours) and products, more than the team can handle. At any given time, while my resources are working on one product, requests keep flowing in about work on other ...