In February I will attend a 5-days workshop held by the Real World Risk Institute, to get a full immersion training on risk taking, management and analysis with Nassim Taleb and a few other risk practitioners.
You are going to meet a customer tomorrow. You will discuss about developing a new product. You know she will ask for a bunch of features, a deadline and a budget. She will ask for estimates. Continue reading “How can a contract reduce the need for estimates?”
The day was led with a very nice pace, the two speakers showing a very different style in explaining their ideas. Their continuous turnover on stage made the workshop very light to follow though packed-up with contents.
The concepts explained during the workshop resonated a lot with what I have discovered through the years about planning product or software development: an estimate is not a promise and both are not a forecast. The first two are quite unhandy too.
According to Merriam-Webster, an estimate is
an opinion on the nature, character, or quality of something.
to calculate or predict (some future event or condition) usually as a result of study and analysis of available pertinent data predict
while a promise is
a statement telling someone that you will definitely do something or that something will definitely happen in the future
Well, that’s enough to spot a linguistic abuse: we are always asked for an estimate, thus for an opinion, while we are committing to a promise and no one cares enough about forecasting – if any useful at all.
I would recommend this workshop to anyone willing to get out of the big bubble lie “sharp estimation is the key factor for success”.