19 votes
Accepted

Developer keeps underestimating tasks time

Hat tip to Nvoigt, Nvogel & D. Espina - all good answers, with particular emphasis on D. Espina's "sometimes, knowing one of your team is overly optimistic, you simply add your own margins ...
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  • 8,700
16 votes

Developer keeps underestimating tasks time

In Scrum the team aims to complete the sprint goal by the end of the sprint. It shouldn't be necessary to estimate day-to-day deadlines since the delivery date is always the end of the sprint. I ...
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  • 5,662
13 votes

Why are estimates treated like deadlines?

I won't say that it is all about communication, but I think a large portion of the problem you see can be contributed to communications that could be improved. I work in the same field, and I've seen ...
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  • 1,591
10 votes
Accepted

Time estimation and deadlines

The short answer is never give a fixed time estimate, always give a range. And then clearly document this in emails or the project plan (writing). Long Answer: Fifty some off years of software ...
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10 votes
Accepted

PM techniques/tools for fixed-price 6 month client project

@DavidEspina has it right - I'd like to add a few thoughts This question illustrates one of the reasons tool recommendations are out of scope - CodeGnome's law says you need to decide how to solve ...
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  • 8,700
9 votes

Failed to finish project in time, now threatened with UK court

Your first course of action should be to secure some legal counsel and get their opinion. Asking a message board for legal advice is only marginally better than doing the same for medical advice... at ...
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  • 8,879
9 votes

How to manage a failed sub team inside a scrum team

You asked in terms of scrum, so that is how I'll answer. However, there are a number of red flags in your question that lead me to believe you aren't actually doing scrum (and I am far from a scrum ...
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8 votes

About the claim that adding more developers to a team does not make delivery faster

I've always heard (and experienced) it as "Adding more developers to a late project will make it later." Every new developer requires ramp-up time to be familiarized with the project's architecture, ...
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  • 14.7k
8 votes

Developer keeps underestimating tasks time

Notwithstanding your approach and whether you are performing it properly, research the affects of planning fallacies. A planning fallacy is a specific form of Optimism Bias, where we have a tendency ...
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  • 36.5k
7 votes

Time estimation and deadlines

While Joel's answer is good, the reality we face in this business is we have to make commitments, we have to price our proposal with a price, not a range of possible prices. Estimates should always ...
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  • 36.5k
7 votes

About the claim that adding more developers to a team does not make delivery faster

It sounds like the idea you're concerned about is a rather over-simplified version of the point raised by Fred Brooks in the (rightly) famous essay The Mythical Man-Month. What Brooks pointed out is ...
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  • 226
7 votes
Accepted

How can we simulate hard deadline?

I'm sorry, but you are trying to solve the wrong problem. Your team isn't delivering much because your management has no expectations from them to do otherwise. There is a saying in my country that ...
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  • 13.4k
7 votes

Developer keeps underestimating tasks time

Joel Spolsky once wrote: https://www.joelonsoftware.com/2007/10/26/evidence-based-scheduling/ The mythical perfect estimator, who exists only in your imagination, always gets every estimate exactly ...
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6 votes
Accepted

Small firm with 4 developers and 2 project managers in need of some guidance for project workflow

There are so many classic issues contained in this approach it is hard to know the best place to start! Firstly I will say this, an Agile approach may suit you better because of the way it handles ...
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  • 4,414
6 votes
Accepted

Missed deadlines. Who's responsible?

Your story suggests three issues you are facing: 1) project management maturity, 2) an understanding of schedule variability, and 3) human performance factors and biases. You describe a work ...
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  • 36.5k
5 votes

Why are estimates treated like deadlines?

There is a difference between estimates and planning values and I find most either ignore or confuse the two...probably the latter. Work effort is probabilistic and a proper estimate should reflect ...
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  • 36.5k
5 votes
Accepted

Reduce Scope or Kill the Project?

So, there are a few things important to note. #1 - Assumptions - You assume one functionality takes 3-4 days to implement. Has this been confirmed with your team? Some tasks might be shorter (or ...
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5 votes

PM techniques/tools for fixed-price 6 month client project

Basically if anything does not go according to plan you are screwed. The problem is that you promised to deliver fixed features (scope) for a fixed budget (resources) before a fixed deadline (schedule)...
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5 votes
Accepted

What decision should I take regarding a team of front-end developers which delivers unstable releases

Product is currently in beta stage and never been public, only client team and the team of testers have access to this. How often is the client checking in? Do you have regular reviews? You want ...
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  • 4,046
5 votes

Developer keeps underestimating tasks time

I'd like add one more option on the table. In many cases estimation isn't really necessary. Situations when it can be useful: You need to sync with other teams which depend on you You need to predict ...
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4 votes

PM techniques/tools for fixed-price 6 month client project

There is no tool or technique that will guarantee you will come in on time and within budget. Work is probabilistic. If you need more certainty, such as you don't have the funds to pay for overruns, ...
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  • 36.5k
4 votes
Accepted

Kanban or Scrum for tough deadline project?

I assume as an interview question, the primary purpose of this question is to see how you think through these ideas and decisions. In that regard, it's a fair question for an interview. For real life, ...
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  • 16.7k
3 votes

Practising agile in deadline driven environments

Agile works well in a deadline driven environment as long as there is flexibility on scope. With agile we typically work with a prioritised backlog of requirements. This ensures that as we work ...
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3 votes

Why are estimates treated like deadlines?

TL;DR Why are estimates treated like deadlines? Because human beings are inherently bad at statistics. Because business schools teach managers to set targets. Because the project manager has ...
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  • 47.3k
3 votes

Present a document with estimations of duration of work and risks

Even before agile we had a concept called "Order of Magnitude Estimating". It's a tool that has been pretty much forgotten, in large part because companies are so date driven, to meet quarterly stock ...
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3 votes
Accepted

Present a document with estimations of duration of work and risks

Oh boy, there are a few red flags in your story (some of them you've already identified yourself). These are the big ones I see: Management asked "when will you finish" That's somewhat great: they ...
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  • 208
3 votes

Is there a theory of management that supports backward/reverse planning?

CodeGnome provided an outstanding answer. To add to it slightly: I have observed in my experience that backwards planning is done nearly exclusively. Deadlines are typically driven by some business ...
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  • 36.5k
3 votes

Is there a theory of management that supports backward/reverse planning?

Mikado Method On a technical basis, this sort of "reverse planning" can be done using the Mikado Method. The best in-depth treatment of this method can be found in The Mikado Method, Ellnestam and ...
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  • 47.3k
3 votes

Reduce Scope or Kill the Project?

If you combine this: My goal is ready to use application for employers and employees. [...] The bad thing is that i have ten days to finish this application. with this: We use something based ...
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3 votes

Why are estimates treated like deadlines?

When the client request for the timeline estimate they are looking upto the PM as an expert who can tell them what they need to communicate to stakeholders that the client is working with. So while ...
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