I agree with Mr. McConnell that a good solution to our problems is to simply get better at estimating. At least in my own limited experience, however, the core problem is less about estimation per se, and more about how projects are managed. I fear that some managers will hear "don't give up on estimates, just get better at estimating", and translate it as "put more pressure on programmers to get better at estimates by punishing them more when they fail". Improvements to the estimation process should include better knowledge by managers of when to ask for a higher-precision estimate (small variations to well-known tasks), and when to settle for lower-precision estimates (exploration) and prepare in advance for the consequences.
Mind you, I'm not in favor of zero management. Don't give up on management, just get better at it. :-)
- Expedia EAN / MatchpointSenior Software Engineer in Test, 2015 - presentLarge-scale cloud systems in Java
- Nationwide Insurance / TEKsystemsSoftware Engineer in Test, 2014 - 2015Ruby-based testing for web/mobile/mainframe
- Design Data CorporationProgrammer/Analyst, 1994 - 2013CAD program in C/C++/TCL/Bash on Linux
- University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE (USA)B.A. in "Multimedia Computing" (Computer Science + Arts)
- Omaha Central High School, Omaha, NE (USA)State-champion chess team (4 years in a row!)
- Lewis and Clark Junior High School, Omaha, NE (USA)School destroyed by a tornado in our final year
- Park Hill Elementary School, Denver, CO (USA)City-champion soccer team
- Palmer Elementary School, Denver, CO (USA)Those "gigantic" raised sandboxes seemed a lot smaller when I went back to visit
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