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Effort estimation... how?

Akhilesh Trivedi
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Joined: Jun 22, 2005
Posts: 1599
What are effort estimation techniques? How do you measure one's effort? To what extent does the experience count? what are other factors that are taken into account? How do we measure effort of an invidual who has no experience in the domain?

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Jeff Langr
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Joined: May 14, 2003
Posts: 799
Greetings Akhilesh,

What are you really trying to do with this information?

Most agile practitioners look to measure outcome instead of effort. Effort doesn't matter if it doesn't produce legitimate business value. You might look at Mike Cohn's book, Agile Estimating and Planning, for a full understanding of agile planning practices.


Books: Pragmatic Unit Testing in Java, Agile Java, Modern C++ Programming with TDD, Essential Java Style, Agile in a Flash. Contributor, Clean Code.
Akhilesh Trivedi
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 22, 2005
Posts: 1599
Thanks Jeff. I am not needing this information to work out anything, just that information is always useful.
I was trying to look at a scenario the leader is too ahead, both technically and domain-wise. He has a project (probably a short term) which he can bid relying on the technical people under him. From past experience he knows that they can code but will they be able to take this new technology and new domain is in question? Say, they are core-java developers and they must skip RMI/CORBA and jump to EJB or they are servlets and jsp code-writers they must code for JSF skipping struts.

I am said iat such times effort-estimation techniques help, and hence this question. Please excuse me for not being agile-specific, but i could not think of other forum.
Badri Narayanan Santhanam

Joined: Nov 24, 2008
Posts: 2
estimation techniques like function point, use case points etc are techniques to determine size of the projects in terms of a unit. It is like saying your project is 100 FP (function point) very similar you saying this bag of sugar weighs 2 Kgs.

Effort estimation is obtained by dividing the size of project by productivity. Productivity is expressed in (units)/ person month sampole 15 FP / oerson month.. This is where experience and other factors come into play.. There are standard benchmarks available based on technology. If you dont meet that productivity obviously it mean the Organization/team doesnt have the required experttise in that technology

visit for Software estimation services

Rajah Nagur
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Joined: Nov 06, 2002
Posts: 239
Estimating effort is very tricky. From experience one can only tell that no methodology can help to arrive at any accurate estimation.

Having said that, however, experience always counts. I mean the experience of the person doing the estimates. Intuition and gut feeling always count.

The word "Complexity" is very relatively understood. So effort estimates always differ from person to person.

This is one area where I have not heard of any "Best Practices", it always "Lessons Learnt".

I feel the Agile way of estimation techniques i.e. the programmer/developer estimating the task at hand is the most apt and fairly accurate. Somebody estimating for you will be always error-prone. Nobody knows what you are good at.

You can't wake a person who is <b><i>pretending</i></b> to be asleep.<br />Like what <b>"it"</b> does not like - <i> Gurdjieff </i>
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