The Secret to PERFECT Agile Estimates

Updated: Jan 20


One of the biggest challenges organizations of any size face is their inability to accurately forecast and estimate. This has been an issue since the beginning of time. Time literally is our biggest hurdle to forecasting. Whether we run into things that we did not account for, or try our very best to be precise only to discover that things outside of our control have caused us to deviate, the truth is time based estimates are the worst. Without perfectly ideal conditions, even the smallest deviation in trajectory can send a large scale, high speed, project into a flaming tailspin of doom.

There are three Key elements we must focus on in order to stabilize our estimates and make the team, project, and or engagement release more predictable:

  1. Time based estimates are wrong. There is no sugar coating this fact. Different people have differing skills and a variety of tools needed in order to complete the job. If we each come in with different skill levels and varying solutions, we will never come to agreement on a time based estimate that is correct. - Relative Complexity based estimates are better.

  2. The myth of Accuracy vs Precision. Teams become frustrated when precision is under constant pursuit, especially early in the product release cycle. It is far better for teams to be consistently accurate and be able to forecast the amount of work they can complete as opposed to striving for precision and continuously being precisely wrong. Quick gut-check estimates provide an easy solution to achieving greater accuracy and allows us to forecast at a higher spee