September 20, 2009

Estimation and Software Projects

Posted in software testing tagged at 7:05 pm by mknight1130

In early September, I attended a Rose City SPIN seminar on Estimation. Todd Williams spoke about assumptions workers and companies make on estimating development and QA hours for a software project. Mainly, that workers who make excellent estimations use past history on similar types of tasks. Although each project is different, the workers are able to transfer a ballpark timeframe to get the job done based on experience. In addition, according to Todd Williams, companies that use estimation well do not treat them as quotes. These companies expect the timeframe will be 70% accurate and that a project may finish a sooner at times or later at other times. Williams states, if the estimate of a project generally swings too early or too late (e.g. an accuracy of 35%), then companies and, perhaps the workers , would benefit from some estimation coaching.

An perspective on estimation, is provided by David T, at http://softwaresurvival.blogspot.com/2006/11/dynamics-of-effort-estimation-in-most.html

David is a software developer with over 10 years of experience. In his post, he discusses factors that influence estimating and some general tips. He caustions that the amount of padding to an estimate needs to be proportional to the risks; …as agressive as possible while remaining reasonable..” David provides some excellent points about why over estimation is not so good. In some places, it may lead to unproductive use of the time. This is in line with Todd Williams view that over padding an estimate does not benefit a project.

Like David, Todd Williams  writes a blog about estimation, http://ecaminc.com/index.php/blog . Todd’s blog is called Back from the Red blog, emphasizing giving a potentially doomed project a make over. This is a good site to learn more about how to problem solve potential road blocks in software projects.

David and Todd;s view points have helped expand thinking about estimating and turning out successful software projects. I am still using the information in my current contract as a software tester to keep on track and influence success.

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1 Comment »

  1. Kelli Garner said,

    Thats very good to know… thanks


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