The Importance of Experts in Software Estimation: A Personal Perspective

As an experienced software project manager and an expert in software estimation, I have realized the critical role of an expert in software estimation in the success of any project. In this narrative, I would like to share my thoughts on why we need these experts and how our insights can significantly impact the outcomes of software development endeavours.

One of the most important things to remember is that a project manager might estimate one or two projects yearly. In contrast, a resource specializing in software estimation and project initiation might do this several times a month. The estimation expert has seen both the good and the inadequate approaches since they are often used in critical and failed projects that need to re-plan or re-organize the scope and delivery approach. The estimation expert is also an expert in requirements and the uncertainty and risk some types of requirements might have to the likelihood of meeting any deadline or delivery performance.

Remember that software estimation is not mere guesswork or approximation; it’s a complex process that requires a deep understanding of various factors and methodologies. See also the article Software Project Estimation – Art or Science?.

Experts in software estimation possess the knowledge and skills to analyze project requirements properly – they can act as experienced independent peer reviewers and often give significant inputs to improvements of the requirements. In addition, they will break down tasks, consider potential risks, and utilize other types of resources to improve the accuracy of the estimates. This comprehensive evaluation ensures that the project’s scope is well-defined and that the timeline and expected productivity are realistic. Without this expertise, there’s a higher likelihood of underestimating the effort required, leading to missed deadlines or compromised quality. Ultimately, these will be missed opportunities for delivering value to the end users.

Moreover, software estimation experts are keenly aware of the intricacies of different development methodologies. Whether a project follows Agile, Waterfall, or any other approach, these experts adapt their estimation techniques accordingly. This adaptability is crucial as it prevents overestimation or underestimation that could hinder the project’s progress. I’ve witnessed instances where inadequate estimations led to chaotic mid-project adjustments, causing confusion among the team members and stakeholders.

Furthermore, these experts possess and know historical data and benchmarks from previous projects. This historical perspective enables them to draw parallels, identify patterns, and make more accurate predictions. It’s like having a compass that guides the project through the challenging terrain of uncertainties. Without this guidance, projects are susceptible to unforeseen roadblocks that could derail progress.

In my own experiences, I’ve seen the positive impact of having software estimation experts on board. Used the right way Estimation expert’s involvement creates a sense of confidence and trust among the team members. When developers and other stakeholders know that the estimates are backed by thorough analysis and industry knowledge, it fosters a conducive environment for collaboration and innovation.

In conclusion, the presence of experts in software estimation is not a luxury but a necessity. Their ability to navigate through the complexities of project requirements, development methodologies, and historical data significantly enhances the likelihood of project success. As the software development landscape continues to evolve, these experts’ roles become even more crucial in ensuring that projects are delivered on time, within budget, and with the desired level of quality and value for the end users. Their contributions are invaluable, and their absence could lead to many challenges that could have been otherwise avoided.


                          Thank you for reading this article Christine Green, IPbyGreen