Questions tagged [estimation]

Estimation is the process of finding an estimate, or approximation, which is a value that is usable for some purpose even if input data may be incomplete, uncertain, or unstable.

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648
votes
17answers
216k views

How to respond when you are asked for an estimate?

We, as programmers, are constantly being asked 'How long will it take'? And you know, the situation is almost always like this: The requirements are unclear. Nobody has done an in depth analysis of ...
37
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7answers
8k views

How to explain that it's hard to estimate the time required for a bigger software project?

I'm a junior developer and I find it hard to estimate how much time it takes to finish a bigger software project. I know how to structure the architecture in general, but it's hard for me to know what ...
62
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36answers
9k views

What can I do to get better at estimating how long projects are going to take? [duplicate]

I don't want to make life hard for management. I really don't. They're nice enough guys, but every time I am assigned a new project or task and get asked "how long do you think it will take to do ...
41
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12answers
11k views

How possible is it to estimate time for programming projects? [duplicate]

It seems like it is nearly impossible to get close because you could run into any number of issues and things not first anticipated. How close can we be expected to reasonably estimate? Our PM wants ...
42
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14answers
10k views

How to learn to make better estimates? [closed]

I suck at estimates. When someone asks me how long something will take, I don't even dare to make a guess since I will be completely off the mark. Usually I'm way too optimistic, and should probably ...
60
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5answers
4k views

How to explain to a non-technical person why the task will take much longer than they think? [closed]

Almost every developer has to answer questions from business side like: Why is going to take 2 days to add this simple contact form? When a developer estimates this task, they may divide it into ...
34
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6answers
25k views

What's the best explanation of what Story Points are?

We're starting to use Story Points here for our Agile development but I find it hard to explain and also can't find any definitive answer to what they are. The best thing I can do is point to other ...
7
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3answers
443 views

Real world Agile practices and estimates

In a perfect world, we tell the client we follow an agile methodology where we allow the scope to increase/decrease as the requirements change and we bill per hour for each iteration. In reality, ...
128
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15answers
124k views

Why do we use story points instead of man days when estimating user stories?

In agile methodologies (e.g. SCRUM), the complexity/effort needed for user stories are measured in Story points. Story points are used to calculate how many user stories a team can take in an ...
120
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21answers
6k views

Is there a way to combat Sales perpetually overcommitting? [closed]

I seem to be repeatedly stuck in a situation where release dates are set not based on anything technical, but because someone in Sales has committed to a customer by then. Based on discussions with ...
65
votes
17answers
4k views

Completion time on a company where the supervisors don't know programming [duplicate]

We are in a small company with around 10 developers. I am the team leader and responsible for the development process. Supervisors and salesmen are close to us since we are a small team, but have no ...
31
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7answers
12k views

How do you decide how much your software will cost? [closed]

If you are a solo developer, or have a leading role in a software company, you might have to decide how much your software will cost one or another day... What is your experience with calculating how ...
49
votes
8answers
42k views

Scrum - how to carry over a partially complete User Story to the next Sprint without skewing the backlog

We're using Scrum and occasionally find that we can't quite finish a User Story in the sprint in which it was planned. In true Scrum style, we ship the software anyway and consider including the User ...
15
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5answers
3k views

The Relative Cost Efficiency of (Acceptance) Test Driven Development

I would like to know what the overall impact of resource planning on a software project is, where the requirements and design of the project are driven by automated acceptance tests and unit tests, in ...
9
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9answers
7k views

How to answer “When will it be done?”

We all have it, problems that prove difficult to fix and working out a fix through obscure code and bizarre unexpected functionality. Slowly, logically working your way through trying to find patterns,...
24
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10answers
3k views

How to add a new developer to the team

I run a small company composed of only 2 developers. We are building a very big application for one of our clients. Development on this project has gone on for 1.5 years. Now this client has secured ...
21
votes
12answers
5k views

Is it significantly costlier to fix a bug at the end of the project?

In a blog post by Andrew Hay, the following axiom was posited: It costs significantly more to fix a bug at the end of the project that it does to fix the same bug earlier in the project. However, ...
33
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14answers
2k views

Boss doesn't believe my time estimate… advice/backup? [duplicate]

I'm working at a startup software company -- 3 developers, less than 15 employees including the CEO. We deal exclusively with Windows Mobile, the .NET CF, and passing the information gathered from our ...
6
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6answers
752 views

How does agile estimate the time required for a “research phase”?

According to canonical agile development, what is the appropriate amount of learning that an engineer should engage in before implementing a solution to a problem? If an engineer knows she is too ...
8
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7answers
3k views

Best way to estimate cost related to porting code from language A to language B?

Have a client thinking about estimating the cost of porting a project from language A to language B. What's the best way to put together an request for proposal to do this?
7
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3answers
977 views

Agile estimation with tech-debt

When estimating (story points) a story that consists on extending a current functionality with a known tech-debt, should we consider the effort that will be spent to refactor the current code or ...
0
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1answer
110 views

In your first meeting with a client, which questions do you ask to help you understand how best to design the software? [closed]

ABOUT: My business partner and I have been building websites for small businesses since we began our company. Out of the blue, we were approached by an HR company to provide a quote for a software ...
86
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9answers
10k views

Estimating time costs in legacy codebase

Recently I started working on a project where a very old monolithic application is being migrated into microservice-based architecture. The legacy codebase is very messy ('spaghetti code') and often ...
27
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13answers
2k views

Sales Manager: “Why is time-estimation so complex?” [duplicate]

A few days ago a sales manager asked me that question. But at this moment I didn't know a answer which he can understand. He isn't a programmer! At the moment I work on a product which is over 8 ...
12
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10answers
2k views

How do you deal with time estimates? [duplicate]

If given too little time, quality suffers. If given too much time, developers will find a way to use all alloted time, no matter what. What would be a good way with dealing with estimates? Are they a ...
14
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6answers
2k views

Time estimating of a complex bug investigation (not a straight-forward one) [duplicate]

(It is not a duplicate: Bug investigation is much more non-deterministic than a defined development task where things to be done are specified. Investigation is about narrowing a huge search space, ...
22
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9answers
1k views

What do you think of “Planning Poker”? [closed]

Planning Poker Summary, in case you don't want to read the wiki article: Get a list of tasks you want to do for the upcoming iteration For each task: 2.1 Discuss with the group what it entails 2.2 ...
14
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4answers
2k views

Maintenance cost of SIMD programming code base

Question: The software industry's consensus is that clean and simple code is fundamental to the long-term viability of the code base and the organization that owns it. These properties lead to lower ...
8
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3answers
10k views

What is a good estimation technique for initial, high-level estimates?

I'm currently using Planning Poker to do our detailed estimates. This works great but relies upon a fairly detailed work breakdown. Often it takes 6-8 weeks to get a sufficiently detailed design and ...
8
votes
5answers
4k views

Should you ever re-estimate user stories?

My current project is having a 'discussion' which is split down the middle- "this story is more complex than we originally thought, we should re-estimate" vs "you should never re-estimate as you only ...
15
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8answers
2k views

Dealing with estimates as a junior programmer

I have been working for a couple of months now in a company that estimates (for the general population, not juniors specifically) tasks and then we are given the task, solve it, it goes through two ...
12
votes
3answers
593 views

Is there a software engineering principle that relates reuse and regression test cost on a production system?

I've worked on a large financial transaction system for a bank that looked after Pensions and Investments. After 15 years of feature changes, the manual regression test cost had climbed to $200K per ...
3
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5answers
515 views

How do you manage project estimation and managing your teams time

I'm thinking of things like: designating a developer having say 6 hours out of their normal 7.5 hour day dedicated to the project, the rest for other work/company related activity (meetings, emails, ...
13
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8answers
1k views

Should you promise to deliver a feature that you aren't sure if its implementable?

In an article from HN, I came across the following advice: Always tell your customer/user "yes", even if you're not sure. 90% of the time, you'll find a way to do it. 10% of the time, you'll go ...
11
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2answers
723 views

Amount of routine work in software development and its effect on estimation

I am convinced that the amount of routine work in software development is - and should be - relatively small, if not negligible, and that this is the fundamental problem of software estimation. Let ...
7
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3answers
1k views

How to infer my Assumptions I based my time estimate on?

In an answer on how to make time estimates it is said to write down all your assumptions you made when estimating a project. Seems like a good plan. Problem is, by assuming I already made an ass out ...
1
vote
5answers
4k views

Statistics on time estimates for web application

I have been asked to help estimate the time it would take to develop a web application. I will not be involved in the actual programming, but I am participating as an "experienced" programmer. The ...
9
votes
7answers
2k views

How long to spend estimating programming tasks?

For example, if I break a project into n discrete work products (say classes or functions or components) is there a time t such that n*t is a suitable amount of time to spend on estimation?
9
votes
3answers
854 views

What is the best/ethical way to estimate code clean-up? [duplicate]

I have been working on a product line since my senior year of college for my current employer. Now several years out of college I am in a position where I am giving estimates for change requests on ...
9
votes
3answers
190 views

Considering consistent change, how short of a planning period is too short?

Change is not uncommon, change in requirements, change in specs change in workflow. I've accepted that there will be change, but I wonder: knowing that change is going to happen, how short of a ...
8
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2answers
2k views

Is it okay to add time for “unexpected delays” to a time estimate?

I've landed my first contract (hooray, self employment!) and the company is asking for time estimates. Programmers are notoriously bad at time estimates, and I know I've been laughably wrong before....
7
votes
3answers
4k views

Is it proper to have Investigation task in sprint

I have been practicing agile for more than a year now. As part of our sprint, some times we will have Investigation Tasks. We skip poker planning for theses tasks, and adds blanket numbers. Theses ...
7
votes
5answers
1k views

Assuming “clean code/architecture” is there a difference in “effort” between PHP or Java/J2EE web application development? [closed]

A client asked us to estimate effort when selecting PHP as the implementation language for his next web-based application. We spent about a week exploring PHP, prototyping, testing etc., We are quite ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

Why is there a 20 and not 21 in some versions of Planning Poker?

In Planning Poker, cards usually contain numbers of the Fibonacci sequence, which is 0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34,55 etc. However, you can see on the Wikipedia page (and this has been confirmed to me by ...
5
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2answers
5k views

How much extra time is needed to add unit test in a development task?

My team is considering moving to test-driven development. Currently we have almost no unit testing, we have been only relying on the user acceptance test, and developer's own manual test. Not everyone ...
2
votes
4answers
206 views

Estimation of your backlog

How far in advance should you estimate stories in your backlog? My concern is that estimates that are 6 months out will become out of date as you develop features in the current sprint. I thought ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

What's the best way to estimate story points in scrum?

I like the way planning poker works at the beginning of any project, letting you compare and discuss details of each story with one another. One of the issues I've noticed with this is that through ...
8
votes
2answers
636 views

Should technical debt/technology upgrade be scheduled as a feature (given points) or a chore (given no points)?

What should we do for user stories for technical debt in Pivotal Tracker? Should we consider these as features (giving points) or as chores (giving no points, thus lowering velocity)? I am confused ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

Counting function points

I am performing a function point analysis (FPA) for a project. I am completely new to this process and have started with only the login and authentication modules to validate the results I get. I ...
1
vote
2answers
108 views

Can story points be used to describe size of several projects estimated by several teams?

KLOC has been - I think justly - criticized as too inaccurate to express size when comparing several projects. In only one source I found a calculation that uses Story Points and thus allow to compare ...