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Loosely Coupled Podcast:
Episode 16 Estimation Is Hard
December 23, 2014 @ 09:32:58

The Loosely Coupled podcast has posted their latest episode today - Episode #16, Estimation is Hard. Join hosts Jeff Carouth and Matt Frost as they talk about their own experience with this difficult developer task.

In this episode, Jeff and Matt talk about the difficult task all developers are continuously faced with: estimation. They cover some examples of times they have found estimation difficult, techniques that have worked for them, and even some advice on how to deal with the stress of estimating incorrectly. Ultimately, estimation is a part of the necessary communication that must happen for a project to be successful.

You can listen to this latest episode either through the in-page audio player or by downloading the mp3 and listening to it at your leisure. If you like the episode, be sure to subscribe to their feed and follow them on Twitter for the latest updates.

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looselycoupled podcast ep16 estimation hard


Hut 8 Labs:
Coding, Fast and Slow Developers and the Psychology of Overconfidence
June 11, 2013 @ 12:16:24

There's an interesting post over on the Hut 8 Labs blog looking at overconfidence in developers and how it effects their estimations of the time it takes to get things done.

I'm going to talk today about what goes on in inside developers' heads when they make estimates, why that's so hard to fix, and how I personally figured out how to live and write software (for very happy business owners) even though my estimates are just as brutally unreliable as ever. But first, a story.

He talks about one of his own experiences about overconfidence and how he found a connection point in a section of a book with it as it talked about overconfidence. He talks about why you (we, as developers) suck at making estimates and how it should be less of a "how long to do it" question and more of a "how confident am I that I can do it" question. He points out that there are some situations where estimations don't suck - 0-12 hour tasks.

So what do we do? Just accept that all our projects are doomed to failure? That we'll have poisoned relationships with the rest of the business, because we'll always be failing to meet our promises? The key is that you first accept that making accurate long-term estimates is fundamentally impossible. Once you've done that, you can tackle a challenge which, though extremely difficult, can be met: how you can your dev team generate a ton of value, even though you can not make meaningful long-term estimates?
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