A burst of Tweets of No Estimates fixes these problems came across Twitter this morning. I won't repeat who they are attributed to, to protect the guilty. But here's a core concept that is totally missing from not only the No Estimates conjecture, but from most every discussion, where a solution is proposed before the problem has been defined. Let's start with Dean Gano's introduction to Apollo Root Cause Analysis, which is a George Bernard Shaw quote so fitting to the discussion of ignoring the root cause and going straight for a solution to the symptom - in many cases an Unnamed symptom.
Ignorance is a most wonderful thing.
It facilitates magic.
It allows the masses to be led.
It provides answers when there are none.
It allows happiness in the presence of danger.
All this while, the pursuit of knowledge can only destroy the illusion.
Is it any wonder mankind chooses ignorance?
~ George Bernard Shaw
So until the symptom is named - and the smell of dysfunction is not a symptom. Until the search for the root cause of the symptom, and applying the 5 whys to an unnamed symptom is applied properly, the root cause will be undetermined. Without discovering the root cause, there will be no chance that any suggested processes, method, or change in behaviors will have any impact on the symptom - named or unnamed.
To see how the statement Estimating is the smell of Dysfunction is seriously flawed and the approach of asking 5 Whys equally flawed, please read RealityCharting® Seven Steps to Effective Problem-Solving and Strategies for Personal Success, Dean L. Gano
The Seven Steps are:
- Define the problem.
- Determine the known causal relationships to include the actions and condition of each effect.
- Provide a graphical representation of the causal relationships to include specific actions and conditional causes.
- Provide EVIDENCE to support the existence of each cause.
- Determine if each set of causes is sufficient and necessary to cause the effect.
- Provide effective solutions that remove, change, or control one of more causes of the event. Solutions must have been shown to prevent recurrence, meet our goals and objectives, be within our control and not cause other problems.
- Implement and track the effectiveness of each solution.
When one or all of these steps are missing, anyone conjecturing their solution - or worse conjecturing we're just exploring for the solution - that conjectured solution is NOT a solution, it's just unsubstantiated conjecture.
One of my favorite quotes when hearing unsubstantiated claims is this:
How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg - Abraham Lincoln
Calling estimating the smell of Dysfunction doesn't make estimating the smell of dysfunction. You've only identified an unsubstantiated symptom. Until you have found the cause and certainly can't suggest Not estimating is the corrective action.
When we have willful ignorance of the Microeconomics of decision making, managerial finance as a governance process for managing other people's money, denial that the uncertainties of projects - aleatory and epistemic uncertainty - can be addressed without estimates of the impact of those uncertainties. Then we are no better than the people mentioned in George Bernard Shaw's quote above. And we are doomed to repeating the symptoms that result from ignoring these principles of managing in the presence of uncertainty.