Do We Really Need Estimates?

Fig1_6151Okay, so you’ve read anything I wrote before, you probably know by now, that I am a strong proponent of Agile methodologies. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:

Estimates Are Wasteful

Fig2_6151It doesn’t matter if it was a friendly debate with a manager, discussion with a client, heckling from someone in the audience of a presentation, but pretty much every time that I bring up this point, I get asked some variation of the following question:

Thousands of companies and organizations have been managing by estimates for decades. Do you think that you are smarter than the owners and managers of everyone of them?!?

I must admit, that question ruffles my feathers every time I hear it. Mostly because, that’s a direct attack on me, not my ideas, and a part of me wants to lash out back at them, or just glibly reply in the affirmative. I don’t. Discretion is the better part of valor, after all…

Today I just thought of a real good answer. Perhaps still a bit on the glib side, but at least not disrespectful or boastful.

Am I Smarter Than Pro-Estimate Managers?

This is going to be my new go-to answer. Feel free to use it. Feel free to quote me:

I think that I have more knowledge, better tooling, and have learned from more failures, than whoever originally came up with the idea to estimate. And I have no basis to compare myself with those who simply estimate because that is what everybody else is/was doing.

What Do You Think?

Fig3_6151Still too glib? Too arrogant? Just right?

Let me know in the comments.

Reference: Do We Really Need Estimates? from our NCG partner Assaf Stone at the Software and I blog.

Assaf Stone

40, Married with 4 children, a full time job, and no time to write a more comprehensive bio.

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