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Time estimation

The following article is a sample from the full BVOP™ Ultimate Guide and is part of the preparation for the BVOP™'s modern Agile Project Management Certification Program.

All offices should understand that estimating using a fixed time may not always be accurate. Teams can estimate the time required for development in relative units.

Detailed time estimation practices and the term “velocity” are introduced in the Business Value-Oriented Product Management section.

Estimation of effort (a work that needs to be done) requires a collaboration of teams that are closely related to development or delivery.

They share their best assumptions about the time it will take to complete the effort in relative points. The estimation is based on a number of factors such as:

  • Experience
  • Skills
  • Understanding of the product
  • Understanding of the technology
  • External dependencies
  • Internal dependencies
  • Difficulty level

Reasons for time estimation in relative units may be:

  • The exact time required for the effort is unclear.
  • Additional information may be needed to estimate the required time in the next stages accurately.
  • Team preference to follow popular techniques to estimate time in relative units.
  • Reducing overall stress among teams.

The time estimation topic is sensitive

The time estimation topic is sensitive, as, in real situations, the project sponsor or management roles may require delivery time for a project that is shorter than the estimated time. At the same time, teams can not promise delivery of the project within the required timeframe.

Unrealistic requirements for completing the work can cause stress, and at some point, the teams do not estimate their work correctly. Teams may also start to add hidden buffer time to their estimates. If they would normally give an estimate of an effort for 5-time points, they can add two more time points in secret, so the overall estimate for an effort is 7 points.

A recommended scenario to avoid this case is not to press the teams for a short time estimate, rather optimize and speed up other processes by management offices as far as possible.

This optimization can be accomplished by providing a better working environment, larger and more capable teams, providing resources and information on time, and any other factors that can positively affect development and delivery times.

On the other hand, development teams must follow the organization's priorities and understand that any delays cost a lot of resources. Deliberate delay in work can harm the organization and other external parties.

All departments and teams may need to define deadlines for efforts as far as it helps them to focus.

Time estimation in Project Management
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