backlog, do not argue first.Do not bang your head against the wall. It hurts your head and does not change the situation.
I love it when the people who are not working directly on the project think they know more than you do. This is why I’m teaching influence workshops this year, in preparation for my program management book :-) This kind of thing happens all the time in program management.
Go re-read part 3 for the details.
Part 4 was all about how to estimate when everything was new:
5. Your Zeroth Best Bet: Wait to Estimate Until You Know How the Team Works
Can you estimate anything without knowing how this team will work on this project? I don’t think so. And, you should hedge your bet by keeping your iterations short.
6. Your First Best Bet: Make Your Stories and Chunks Small
Make the stories small so they are easier to estimate. Make any tasks small so you can estimate them Make the iterations small so you get feedback faster. Small is beautiful, baby. If you have anything larger than team-day task, you are in Trouble.
7. Your Second Best Bet: SWAG and Refine
Ok, you’ll fall for one of the oldest tricks in the book, but see if you can make it work. Estimate with the team, plan on refining the estimate. Please do not allow your estimate to be someone else’s commitment (an agile schedule game).
Don’t forget to read the SWAG No-No’s.
And those are my seven suggestions. Confidence percentages help a lot.
You can use these ideas for dates or budgets. Substitute “budget” or “cost” for “date” and you will see that the ideas fit.
I wish I could tell you there was a magic recipe or a crystal ball to tell you how to determine the unknown from no knowledge. There is not. You need data. But it doesn’t take long to get the data if you use an agile lifecycle. It takes a little longer with an incremental lifecycle. Yes, I will do a series on lifecycles soon.
If you found this series helpful, please let me know. It was a lot of work. If you would like even more about estimation, please see Manage It! Your Guide to Modern, Pragmatic Project Management at the Prags where you can see excerpts or at Amazon
where you can see more reviews. Yes, there is more about estimation. Astonishing, eh?