I've participated in two session at Carnegie Mellon Silcon Valley's Masters Program, as a speaker. And one of our staff is completing his Masters Program there. he sent me this picture.
The inside joke, besides the graduates completing the work, is that "what does done look like," is the phrase used on most of our aerospace and defense programs.
This question and the answer, goes like this:
- When will this thing fly? On or before mid November 2014, with an 85% confidence.
- When can we install the next version of the Command and Data Handling firmware? On or before November 19th, 2010, with 90% confidence.
- When can the C-130 (tail number 56-0478) be ready for Ops? Next Wednesday sir, 100% guaranteed.
You get the idea. It serves no purpose to have a plan or a schedule if you don't know what "done" looks like. "Done" is defined in units of measure meaningful to the buyer, user, owner. It serves no purpose to state a date or a time unless you know the confidence level and the error on that confidence level.
If anyone speaks to you about "point" values, ask them what's the confidence level, and what's the error on that confidence. If they don't know, or don't know how to get these values, or don't care to get them - this point value can't be right. And most importantly, the point value can't be credible.