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

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  • Steven Gordon
    One additional factor that might help your product manager s manager appreciate your estimates is that your estimates are for code that has already been
    Message 1 of 50 , Apr 1, 2003
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      One additional factor that might help your product manager's manager
      appreciate your estimates is that your estimates are for code that has
      already been debugged. She is no doubt comparing your estimates with the
      estimates she has always gotten - of not yet debugged code.

      -----Original Message-----
      From: rodriguez_jose48 [mailto:rodriguez_jose48@...]
      Sent: Tuesday, April 01, 2003 5:17 AM
      To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [XP] Customer doesn't trust our estimates


      --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, Dale Emery <dale@d...>
      wrote:
      > Hi Jose,
      >
      > > 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.
      >
      > Given the whole of your message, I'd say that not trusting
      > estimates is a symptom of a larger relationship issue. My guess
      > is that your customer doesn't think you are attending to her
      > interests.


      In fact there is a product manager. We call her Customer. She can be
      involved in our project. But our project is one of her many projects.

      And there is the manager of the product manager. She has no time to
      work with us. She looks only at the estimates, from time to time and
      says "too long". She doesn't understand much about what our product
      does. Only at a high level.

      When it comes to money, the manager of the product manager decides.

      And there is another person from the Customer side. He is closer to
      the problem domain. But I'm not sure what is his role.
      Oh, yes, he should do whatever he can. Maybe he is used as an input
      source by the other managers.

      So, when you are saying "her interests", it is a little confusion for
      me. :)

      Jose.


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    • 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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