Tuesday, September 3, 2013

An agilist on estimating

Mike Cohn, who wrote a really good book -- perhaps the Bible -- on estimating agile projects, has a recent email "info item" about estimating. Most of it is good til he gets to the last paragraph.

And, then: OMG! Cohn says: you don't have to do estimating if you don't need to prioritize or if no one is asking for predictions.

My comment to this advice: NO! (Strong message follows). A project without estimates is totally blind to the future possibilities and probable outcomes.

Frankly, it shouldn't matter to you who wants (or doesn't want) to prioritize -- everything that is otherwise not governed by the physics of sequencing requires some prioritization -- and every consumption of resource should be considered in the context of scarcity: all things man made are constrained!

There's a price for using (and consuming).. this is inescapable for project managers.

For more on this general topic -- if you're really a non-believer in estimates -- I refer you to the numerous blogs and twitters on #NoEstimates! A good place to start is here.

Check out these books I've written in the library at Square Peg Consulting