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Estimation: A Paradigm Shift Toward Dynamic Design-to-Cost and Radical Management

This article by Tom Gilb examines how accurate estimation has become almost unachievable as a goal for most organisations. Gilb suggests that the best way to avoid the challenge of this is to use an alternative to such a disappointing outcome via process control, objective prioritization, defining requirements & architecture, and collecting best practices via metrics gathering and lessons learned reviews. Gilb goes on to explain situations where estimation can be successful via the correct procedure and communication. For instance, Gilb explains how learning root cause of estimation deviations can help prevent them in the future and also reduce the impact of existing deviation: The set of designs needed to deliver a demanding quality level can usually be implemented one design at a time. One should also make an estimate of the expected impacts for the highest-contribution-to requirement- levels design options and implement them, with the highest estimated impact first. One should also estimate the expected development cost for each design increment, and choose the one that gives the best impact on quality, in relation to its estimated costs (the best ROI). It's also a good idea to prioritize what is critical out of all “high priority” requirements, and work on that first. It's through this intelligent prioritization that estimates can be achieved effectively.   Tom Gilb is a contributing expert to our sister organization, ITMPI. To learn more about him and all other ITMPI experts, please visit

About Matthew Kabik

Matthew Kabik is the former Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He worked at Computer Aid, Inc. from 2008 to 2014 in the Harrisburg offices, where he was a copywriter, swordsman, social media consultant, and trainer before moving into editorial.

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