Definitions of NoEstimates
I’ve noticed people argue for (or against) #NoEstimates in a bunch of different ways. They’ll often say “what #NoEstimates is really about is…”
- Size everything about the same and count them, it’ll give you just as good results as estimating, without the cost of estimating.
- Split stories as small as you can and then count them, it’ll give you just as good results as estimating, without the cost of estimating.
- It’s useful to estimate whole projects so you can decide whether to fund them, but don’t waste time estimating day-to-day activities.
- Estimate day-to-day activites because they are simple enough to understand, but don’t try to estimate whole projects which are full of unknowables.
- Estimates are unreliable, so we shouldn’t use them to make decisions. That would be irresponsible.
- Estimate value, not cost. Value varies by orders of magnitude. High-value work will exceed the cost by so much that cost won’t matter.
- The parts of our work that can be estimated aren’t the parts that matter: if you understand work well enough to estimate it reliably, then it’s in the Known/Complicated or Obvious domains and you should automate it away.
- We could estimate reliably, but there are other approaches that produce better outcomes. Using estimtes takes your attention away from those other approaches.
- When there’s a lot of technical debt, you can’t estimate reliably because you don’t know when you’ll hit a quagmire. Accidental complexity greatly exceeds essential complexity, but inconsistently. See “7 minutes 26 seconds”.
- When the team owns its business outcomes, it doesn’t need estimates. See “AFM Optimizing”.
- My boss uses estimates as a tool of abuse and manipulation, creating an unsafe work environment.
I’m not trying to judge any of these ideas. As Tim Ottinger put it:
So, in summary, there is a community of people sharing a hashtag, with various camps going about things differently and finding different value by doing so?
I do find it interesting that some of the ideas are in conflict with others.
Have you seen others? What catches your attention?
Written on March 27, 2019