The #NoEstimates Debate

The debate about the benefits of estimates still hasn’t died. It’s still alive and well because there are many different and influential opinions. Here are some significant sources:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh273052/
http://agile.dzone.com/articles/story-point
http://www.mountaingoatsoftware.com/blog/assigning-story-points-at-the-right-time-or-not-at-all
http://www.estherderby.com/2012/03/estimating-is-often-helpful-estimates-are-often-not.html
http://softwaredevelopmenttoday.blogspot.co.nz/2012/01/story-points-considered-harmful-or-why.html
http://neilkillick.com/2012/04/12/do-not-estimate-software-projects-at-all/

The only thing I’m really sure about when talking about an estimate is that: in some way, if you do not prepare an estimate someone will do for you, forced by business needs. As Martin Fowler says: “For me, estimation is valuable when it helps you make a significant decision.” …And business always needs decisions.

There are some lucky exceptions… “not every team needs to do it. […] If your product owner doesn’t need the estimates in order to prioritize well and if no one is asking for multi-sprint predictions of what will or can be delivered, don’t bother putting story points on your product backlog items. But, if your project can benefit from these estimates, apply them earlier than during sprint planning so the product owner has time to think about and act on the new information.” (Mike Cohn).

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