Dealing with Estimation, Uncertainty, Risk, and Commitment

Todd Little, Landmark Graphics Corporation

Software projects are known to have challenges with estimation, uncertainty, risk, and commitment—and the most valuable projects often carry the most risk. Other industries also encounter risk and generate value by understanding and managing that risk effectively. Todd Little explores techniques used in a number of risky businesses—product development, oil and gas exploration, investment banking, medicine, weather forecasting, and gambling—and shares what those industries have done to manage uncertainty. With studies of software development estimations and uncertainties, Todd discusses how software practitioners can learn from a better understanding of uncertainty and its dynamics. In addition, he introduces techniques and approaches to estimation and risk management including utilizing real options and one of its key elements—understanding commitment. Take away a better understanding of the challenges of estimation and what software practitioners can do to better manage estimation, risks, and their commitments.