Making Better Estimates, Part 4: Concrete Experiments

Part of a series on Making better estimates.

Experiment trumps speculation when it comes to improving estimation accuracy.

A little investigation goes a long way. Concrete experiments trump idle meeting room speculation every time. If it’s important to be accurate, make or take the time to investigate the tasks with large estimates (usually a sign of insufficient understanding, fear or risk). An investigation might consist of simple research, writing a small amount of throw-away code, further interviewing a vendor, seeking clarity on requirements, investigating assumptions, quizzing partners, etc. These investigations take time, and hence have a cost. As with whole team estimation, there’s a tradeoff between accuracy and cost.


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