Revealing Hidden Assumptions in Estimation

Classic post from 2005 by Jamis Buck at 37signals, on users’ estimations for how long and how difficult new features might be:

Imaginary work is always easier to do than real work. It is much more attractive (being more quickly done) and once you see the imaginary work, it can be very difficult to identify the real work it masks. People estimating imaginary work often assume they have all the facts in hand when making their estimates, which assumption leads them to believe that there is no “big technical hurdle” preventing its implementation.

These users are inevitable, and they never cease to annoy. But no product team will ever be successful without the confidence to know when to ignore them. What these users want is everything, and if you try to do everything, you will fail.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008