Software project estimations
The article discusses the challenges associated with software estimation in software development projects. Software estimation, in most cases, tends to be unreliable and is considered a difficult practice, primarily due to the challenge of matching business requirements with the technical aspects of the project.
Developers often make estimation mistakes by making assumptions about business functionality, mainly because they are typically not business-oriented specialists. These estimations often differ from the expectations of the product owners or the requirements understanding, leading to discrepancies in software development efforts. This issue arises from the inability of business personnel to articulate business process details and the difficulty software engineers face in understanding how to implement these processes.
Instead of giving single point or range-based estimates, iterative software development methodologies should be used to manage the process and reduce initial uncertainty. Often, a developer's estimate may appear to follow a simple, elegant technical solution (depicted as the blue line in the article). In contrast, the actual work required often follows a more circuitous path, involving at least three iterations before a feature is deemed complete and stable enough to meet all initial expectations (the red line in the article). This difference between the estimated and actual work is a significant challenge in software estimation.
Software estimation is further complicated by the fact that many projects are geared towards implementing market or technical innovations. This aspect brings additional challenges, as the lack of prior knowledge on such implementations makes accurate estimation more difficult. In conclusion, the differences between the anticipated estimate and the actual time taken are rooted in the knowledge gathering process. Both software developers and business users continually learn and adapt through several iterations with working prototypes before reaching a consensus on the required implementation.