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Re: Customer doesn't trust our estimates

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  • Kiel Hodges
    ... your ... gets 30 ... but have ... So multiply by 7. Or randomly add or subtract a point. Or don t multiply at all; just call them points. I have an
    Message 1 of 50 , Apr 1, 2003
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      --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, "rodriguez_jose48"
      <rodriguez_jose48@y...> wrote:
      > --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, "banshee858"
      > <cnett858@s...> wrote:
      > > Perhaps you need to multiply
      > > every estiamte by ten in order to get the idea of days out of
      your
      > > customer's head? So instead of 3 ideal days, your customer
      gets 30
      > > points! I have heard that suggestion bounced around here,
      but have
      > > not used it. Might work for you.
      > >
      >
      > Yes, I've thought about it. But having only 10, 20 and 30 point
      > stories is not different from having 1, 2 and 3 point stories.
      >
      > Jose

      So multiply by 7. Or randomly add or subtract a point. Or don't
      multiply at all; just call them points.

      I have an unproven hypothesis: thinking in terms of ideal days is
      misleading for everybody, not just the customer. I think that
      some developers keep chasing that ideal when they estimate. It's
      kind of like the joke about doubling your estimates so that
      they'll be 50% of the real value.

      Forget about how much ideal programming time you can get done
      during a day. It won't help you and it won't help your customer.
      In particular, it won't lead to getting more done during a day.
      That can only happen in two ways: by improving the code and
      practices so that you can produce more functionality with less
      effort, and by removing things that take away from productive
      time. Ideal time has nothing to do with the former. Ideal time
      won't identify those things in the latter.

      I think ideal time is assumed by some to better that points
      because is more "real". It's not. The hint is that word "ideal".
      That implies "not real". What's worse than not knowing something?
      Knowing something that isn't true!

      This soapbox is a bit rickety, so I better step down now. ;->

      Kiel Hodges
      SelfSo Software
    • 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, 2003
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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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