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Predicting the Unpredictable: Pragmatic Approaches to Estimating Cost or Schedule Paperback – June 12, 2015
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The questions are straightforward and simple, they are also justified, but the answers are the source of a huge literature with a lot of books and articles, leading to heated debates and claims. And if you're dealing with a software-intensive product or a project, you already know the difficulties of making predictions about future.
In this no-nonsense and pragmatic book, the author tries to look at the various aspects of predicting the timing of software projects. Given the statistical nature of the problem at hand, and the thirst for determinism of the business, she manages to clarify the concepts and draw attention to critical pitfalls. One of the things I really appreciated is the fact that author is very well aware of what kind of pressure the upper management can put on the shoulders of a software project manager: she has clearly been through such situations, and constantly focuses on how you can convey the fragile nature of ambitious of project predictions.
I can easily the recommend because I think it'll useful for practicing software managers, as well as the developers who try to evaluate whether they are working with good management practices.
So, as the author says, make your features small, break down that epic, go on a spike, don't multitask, put an expiration that on your estimates, always use confidence numbers for your predictions, communicate your status concretely, provide value at the end of each increment, and get to work!
How do you deal with requests to estimate what will be delivered by what date? Johanna Rothman’s excellent book Predicting the Unpredictable gives you answers.
The title basically gives it away: how do you predict the unpredictable? Rothman gives clear recommendations on how to make, revise, and communicate estimates using proven techniques.
The book is filled with loads of good quotes:
* “Since software is about learning, and we rarely, if ever, do the same project twice, we are always estimating the unknown.”
* “In many ways, estimating project budgets or dates for agile projects turns out to be irrelevant.”
* “Some managers want you to estimate the budget as well as the date. And now, you’re off into la-la land.”
Many readers will find the final chapter most rewarding: Troubleshooting. Rothman explains the dangers of the common practices of multi-tasking and team switching, how to use spikes, how to estimate testing time, and the three big estimation traps.
A must read for product leaders, product managers, and project managers.
This book is disappointing. Full of generic statements and links to buy other books by same author.
Finally I bought these books after this one:
Estimating Software Costs: Bringing Realism to Estimating
Software Estimation: Demystifying the Black Art (Developer Best Practices)
Cesar Abeid, PMP
Author of Project Management for You
Project Management for You: How to Turn Your Ideas Into Reality, Deliver On Your Promises, and Get Things Done
Short and up to the point, I recommend to read it for every manager, product-owner and scrummaster (and not only for starters).