Ditch the Estimates and Find Success

Estimation is a dreaded part of any project. What if you could get rid of the process entirely and do an even more efficient job in the long run? First, you’d have to convince the customer, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Matthew Heusser of wrote an article chronicling an estimation conversation between some of today’s leading IT experts. The verdict was unanimous and surprising: estimation should be eliminated. But how?

The first step is to reason with any customer who expects an estimate. The time spent estimating is valuable, and could be used getting a jump start on the actual project. Also, estimations are no guarantee of delivery. In fact, they often lead to disappointment when a project goes overtime or over budget. Plus, a need to stick to the estimate could lead to slipshod work, as IT rushes to meet a deadline.

In addition, freeing yourself from estimates has its own set of benefits. Give the customer the opportunity to check in on the project periodically. Showing them the work you’ve completed so far will enable both of you to make sure the project is on the right track. If there is a miscommunication, the mistake can be changed much earlier in the game. Explain all this to your customer, and see what they say. You might just find you’ve made a convincing argument.


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