From the book How To Measure Anything, there is a notion starting from the McNamara Fallacy.
The first step is to measure whatever can be easily measured. This is okay as far as it goes. The second step is to disregard that which can't easily be measured or to give it an arbitrary quantitative value. This is artificial and misleading. The third step is to presume that what can't be measured easily isn't important. This is blindness. The fourth step is to say that what can't be easily measured really dosnt' exist. This is suicide. — Charles Handy, The Empty Raincoat (1995), describing the Vietnam-era measurement policies of Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara
There are three reasons to seek information in the process of making business decisions:
- Information reduces uncertainty about decisions that have economic consequences.
- Information affects the behaviour of others, which has economic consequences.
- Information sometimes has its own market value.
When we read ...
... and there are no alternatives described, then it's time to realize this is an empty statement. To be successful in the software development business we need information about the cost to development of value, the duration of the work effort that produces this value for those paying for the outcomes of our efforts, and the confidence that we can produce the needed capabilities on or near the planned delivery date, at or below the planned budget. (And fixing the budget just leaves two other variables open, so that is an empty approach as well.)
The solution to the first has been around since the 1950's - decision theory. The answer to the second is provided by measuring productivity in regards to uncertainty about investments - an options or analysis of alternatives (AoA) process. The notion of market information is based on Return on Investment, where the value produced in exchange for cost to produce that value in an fundamental principle of all successful businesses.
If we can somehow separate the writing of software from the discussion of determining the cost of that effort, it may become clearer that the software development community needs to consider the needs of those funding their work over their own self-interest of not wanting to estimate the cost of that work. In the end those with the money need to know. If the development community isn't interested in providing viable - credible business processes - to answer how much, when, and what - then it'll be done without them, because to stay in business, the business must know the cost of their products or services.