Stoplight Estimates

Traditional projects thrive on estimates and humans are terrible at estimating. No really, we’re bad at this. Bad enough that college papers have been written correlating our failures with evolution. Bad enough that we’ve developed several competing terms to describe different perspectives on this same phenomena. Hofstader’s Law, Parkinson’s Law, and the Planning Fallacy all deal with the idea that you basically have no idea how long it will take you to finish what you’re doing. This is somewhat better than people who generally have no idea what they’re doing. At least your only problem is with time.

Poor estimations are more costly at the

Management Reserves & Estimated Monetary Value

In project management, a Management Reserve is “an amount of the project budget withheld for management control purposes. These are budgets reserved for unforeseen work that is within the scope of the project. The management reserve is not included in the performance measurement baseline” (PMBOK).

There are three different types of management reserves identified in

Exaggerated Estimates

In this post I’d like to discuss how estimating is one of the riskiest aspects of any project.  The best book for understanding this isn’t on the reading list for my classes at UMUC, but that’s probably because it’s too engaging to be used as a text book.   The resource in question is Goldratt’s…

Politicizing the Estimate–Someone Might Need To Look Good

When creating a project’s estimated cost it is often acceptable to pad or low ball the estimate depending upon the audience and intent.  For Scotty in Star Trek it was multiplying his actual estimates by four.  But Scotty’s audience was a fictional captain, and a loyal fanbase.   Quite a few of the projects I’ve…