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Re: [XP] Re: Customer doesn't trust our estimates

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  • Simon Brown
    ... She needs to be on site, so that she can see you working. ... We have given you an estimate of the time we believe it will take to complete the work.
    Message 1 of 50 , Apr 1 12:10 AM
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      At 07:03 01/04/2003 +0000, you wrote:
      >--- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, "Ilja Preuss"
      ><preuss@d...> wrote:
      > > > She thinks we are giving her too big estimates, and that we are
      > > > working too slowly. She is right in thinking like this because in
      >the
      > > > past this project didn't went so well, and schedule overruns were
      > > > a 'normal' thing.
      > >
      > > I don't understand this math. You regularly needed more time than
      >you
      > > estimated and she thinks your estimates are too big?
      >
      >We have nedded more time in the past. She thinks that was due to the
      >fact that we didn't work enough.

      She needs to be on site, so that she can see you working.

      >Now we give more acurate estimates, but she thinks we are making them
      >too big. She wants us to work harder.

      "We have given you an estimate of the time we believe it will take to
      complete the work. We're working as hard as we can. If you think there are
      programmers who can do the same work in less time than we have estimated,
      then by all means hire those programmers."

      Liberally borrowed/paraphrased from Ron, but I like it. I intend to use it
      often in my place of work.

      You have to own the estimates, and your customer has to understand that the
      estimates are exactly what the name implies - your best Estimate of the
      time it will take to do the work. She needs to understand that the work
      takes the time it takes. If she wants it to take less time, there needs to
      be less work.

      > > > For example we cannot tell her we are programming only 5-6
      >hours/day.
      > > > I've seen on this list that others have a similar period of
      >effective
      > > > coding each day, so I believe it is a normal thing (anyway we are
      > > > tired after 5-6 hours of effective coding).
      > >
      > > Yes, we experience a similar amount of "effective coding time". What
      > > would happen if you told her?
      >
      >Only 5-6 hours a day??? You should work 8 hours! You are wasting my
      >money!

      If your customer really would say this, then she believes that she knows
      better than you how best to do the work that you are doing. In this
      situation you could say, again, that you're doing the work in the best way
      you know, and that if she can find programmers who can do it better, she
      should hire those programmers.

      I'd try actually telling her and finding out what happens, though. And if
      you ever do get her on site, you'll no longer be able to hide from her that
      you have 5-6 hours of effective time. Better to be honest from the beginning.

      Simes.

      --
      Simon Brown <simes@...>

      "He's saying it's just a cake, sir."
      "We can't take that chance. Order full orbital response."
    • davechaplin
      Is your customer technical? If so, then ask them to show you how they would do it quicker. Admit that you don t know. You know yourself that you are working
      Message 50 of 50 , Apr 9 9:49 AM
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        Is your customer technical? If so, then ask them to show you how they
        would do it quicker. Admit that you don't know. You know yourself
        that you are working very fast using XP, and that the quality
        investments you are making will pay off. You can gamble on that. Make
        sure your estimates accurate though, since no-one likes a deadline
        that isn't hit. Under promise /commit, and over deliver.

        Don't tell her you are coding 6 hours a day regardless. Tell her you
        are coding 8, then make sure you only code spikes and R&D stuff in
        the other 2 hours. Personally, we stop touching production code after
        about 4pm. Our brains are a bit dead. Then we work on previously
        marked TODO's/STUB's in the code that are low brain activities to fix.

        Regarding the problems with times estimates. Give a range if you are
        unsure. e.g. between 5 and 15 days. Tell her you need to do some R&D
        for 2 days to get an accurate estimate. If she takes the lower one
        that is her problem and you have a project management problem you
        need to solve. Openly refuse to commit to deadlines unless you are
        sure of hitting them. I suspect you had project overuns in the past
        because someone else other than the developers was promising
        something that couldn't be delivered. Seen that before. It was solved
        by the particular project manager being marched out the building by
        security. That solved it!

        Hope that helps.

        Dave.

        --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, "rodriguez_jose48"
        <rodriguez_jose48@y...> wrote:
        > Now, after we've managed to have some separation of
        responsibilities
        > between programmers and Customer, our main problem is that the
        > customer does not trust our estimates.
        >
        > She thinks we are giving her too big estimates, and that we are
        > working too slowly. She is right in thinking like this because in
        the
        > past this project didn't went so well, and schedule overruns were
        > a 'normal' thing.
        >
        > What can we do to solve this problem?
        >
        > This has a couple of bad consequences over the process.
        >
        > For example we cannot tell her we are programming only 5-6
        hours/day.
        > I've seen on this list that others have a similar period of
        effective
        > coding each day, so I believe it is a normal thing (anyway we are
        > tired after 5-6 hours of effective coding).
        >
        > Another problem is that we fear to have the Customer with us during
        > the planning. We fear that we will not be able to give an accurate
        > estimate in a short time (planning a story shouldn't take long, I
        > guess) and if we give a shorter estimate, she will not agree to
        > change it in the future.
        >
        > Besides, during the planning game, we, the programmers, have to be
        > careful, not to tell anything about the mapping real time/ideal
        time
        > (we are estimating in ideal days and weeks).
        >
        > Any ideas?
        >
        > Jose.
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