Estimation Part 7 - Recap

Over the last 6 posts, I have been looking at estimation. First, we looked at why we estimate, then we looked at some of the pitfalls in traditional estimation methods - the way we mistake accuracy for precision. Then we looked at some of the Agile estimation techniques - story points and T-Shirt sizes and the way they are designed to overcome the accuracy vs precision problem. We saw that while they generally do a good job, they also have some fairly serious pitfalls of their own. In the last two posts, we looked at taking T-Shirt sizing one step further and allowing only two sizes - small and extra-large (too big). By doing this we saw how the main pitfalls in the agile estimation techniques were overcome. We also looked at some of the main objections to story counting and my arguments on how these objections can be overcome.

I'm not the only person to come up with this technique. It's doing the rounds at the moment under the name "No Estimation Movement". Apparently I'm part of a movement. Cool.

While it's great that there is some serious thinking going on about this sort of thing, I'm not sure that the folks behind the whole No Estimation Movement are doing themselves (or anyone else with similar ideas) any favours at all. Sure it's a nice, sensational, click-bait title to put on things, but from what I have seen of the discussions, it's also causing a lot of unnecessary argument. Most of the discussion seems to go like this -

Experienced Project Manager - "As an experienced project manager, my well-reasoned view is that running a project with no estimation at all sheer lunacy."

No Estimation Advocate - "No Estimation! WOOOOO! YOLO!"

Which just isn't helpful. Except for creating internet argument. It's click-bait. Whacking a provocative title on something to stir up controversy and drive traffic. It's not about getting sensible conversations started.

As sensible conversation are what we need, I'm staying well away from the whole No Estimation Movement. I'm certainly not calling what I do "no estimation". For a start it's inaccurate. The act of sizing the stories is an act of estimation. There is estimation going on so we can't call it "no estimation". Calling it "no estimation" is just trolling. As the world is already oversupplied with internet trolls, I won't be adding my voice to the chorus.

What can we call it then? I'm tossing up between "right-sizing" and just plain old "story counting".

A shed being built, floor joists and wall supports can be seen with an aluminium ladder inside. More building materials are on the ground.

That's it for this post; I know it's a short one. I usually tend to ramble on at length. I spent the long weekend building my shed instead of writing. 

A permanent home for my brewery! WOOOOO!