Curiosity Wasn’t Priced In
Curiosity is a good thing. It’s vital when it comes to data. It uncovers the “why” behind the “what”. Failing to price in curiosity can be the difference between “servicable” and “wow”. Good analysts will follow their curiosity anyway.
Timelines Allowing No Mistakes or Delays
Someone will screw up and code will need fixing. Someone will come to work with the flu and infect 3 people. Machines will break. Approvals will be delayed. People will change their minds. Optimism isn’t your friend when it comes to estimating.
Death by Meeting
How long will it take to code this? About 8 hours.
Estimate: 8 hours
8 hours of coding plus 2 hours of meetings = 10 hours
Boom! You’re 25% over on the job.
The Myopia of Estimates Part 1
As I semi-reclined in the dentist’s chair this morning, my dentist told the hygienist a story. Seems his businessman brother-in-law suspected his employees were taking advantage of him by taking entire afternoons off when they had dentist appointments. Since the man had never needed a filling himself, he asked “How long do fillings typically take – all afternoon?” My dentist replied that it’s usually closer to 30 to 90 minutes to fill a tooth, which he said confirmed his brother-in-law’s suspicions that his employees were sandbagging.
“Hold on!”, I interjected, trying not to let my sporty paper bib, the drool escaping from my left lower jaw, or my Sylvester-Stallone-on-a-bender Novocaine drawl detract from my authority. “That’s how long it is for you. We patients usually choose our dentists close to our homes, not work. For an afternoon appointment, we have to drive to where you are (45 minutes to an hour in my case), do the “let’s have you fill out this form again and take a picture of your insurance card” ritual with the ladies in your office, then sit in the waiting room if you’re running late, then sit with you for 30 to 90 minutes of filling(s), then spend more time with the office staff to settle up the co-pay and schedule the next appointment(s), then drive back to office. We’ll be slurring in Novocainian dialect until dinner time, so we can’t call anybody – and the office closes in 20 minutes. Still think taking the afternoon off is unreasonable?”
So keep this story in mind when your Dev team is giving you an estimate of completion. It’s not just the coding time that goes into it.
“Yeah, I didn’t consider that.”, my dentist admitted. Hope he calls his brother-in-law back.
The Myopia of Estimates Part 2