The conjecture of #NoEstimates starts with the first Tweet
This conjectures - (there are) ... ways to make decisions with No Estimates ... is not founded on any principle of business management, microeconomics of decision making, or principles of probability and statistics. It's a fallacy.
Let's start with a simple approach to exploring for anything?
- What are we looking for? It says we're looking for An Alternate Way to make decisions - in the presence of uncertanty. Uncertainty of course is present in all software development work both reducible and irreducible uncertainty.
- How will we recognize it when we encounter it? Any expectations for what we'll find? Any expectations of how to measure if what we found is what we're actually looking for?
- Once we find it, how can we test that what we found is actually of use to anyone other than us? The use of anecdotes is to collect a sample of One from an Unknown population and consider it representative of as evidence of our hypothesis.
The Hypothesis might well be (if there was one) is ... can we make a decision in the presence of Uncertainty without making an estimate of the impact or outcome of that decision?
Let's put aside for the moment the missing principles of managerial finance, probabilistic decision making, microeconomics of decision making, Real Options, Bayesian decision networks, and other decision making processes used in modern business when spending other people's money. And ask a simple question...
What would be the evidence that we could make decisions in the presence of uncertanty without estimating the impacts and outcomes of those decisions?
The Myths of No Estimates and the busting of them is one purpose of this blog post. Here are some books and papers that can provide you with all the tools needed to learn to estimate in the presence of uncertainty. As well these books and papers can show you the snake oil salesman's fallacy that estimates are hard, are a waste, and aren't needed to make decisions in the presence of uncertainty.
Before listening to any conjecture that estimates aren't needed to make decisions in the presence of Uncertainty for software development, please read these books. Ask the person making those conjectures if they have read the books. Ask to see the marked up, sticky noted, tabbed copy of the book and the notes they made from the content. If not, walk away. They are not informed by the principles of spending other people's money.
Along with these books here's a collection of papers and articles showing how to estimate on agile development projects and how to avoid the Snake Oil Sales Pitch of #NoEstimates
So stop listening to the fallacy that estimates aren't needed to make decisions. And start learning to estimate and be a proper steward of your customers money.