Moving beyond estimation
11 August 2015
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If you are on Twitter, you would agree that #NoEstimates was the latest trending buzz in the Agile world. I have been reading about it, I have been questioned about it, and I strongly feel like adopting the idea.
When we ask, "Will you be able to deliver on time?" the general answer is that we will do our best. I have been in situations in which the management team has tweaked or interpreted our estimations incorrectly, and we have been asked to do more than what was estimated. Well, more than what we were already doing.
I have tried story points, functional points, actual hours, or days, but somehow when management analyzes the numbers, they start playing around with them. I have seen people who are fed up with this. In such situations, I suggest you start adopting the concept of "no estimation." Do not give your management any numbers to play with, and also salvage the time that you spend estimating.
What I am suggesting is that instead of wasting time estimating your problems or user stories, start splitting them so that they are all similarly sized. Now you can do your sprint planning based on the number of stories. The number of stories that you deliver in a sprint also becomes your velocity. So you are basically killing any scope of mathematics. If we follow Scrum's recommendation for continuous improvement and eliminating waste, the estimation process could be considered a complete waste. You are not going to be publishing or using the numbers anyway.
"No estimates" certainly looks like the way forward. I have thought about it, and I cannot see any negative effects. I am tempted to give it a try within my projects as soon as possible. I am only concerned that I may introduce one experiment too many for the teams!
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