There was an interesting post on the #NoEstimates thread that triggered memories of our hiking and climbing days with our children (now grown and gone) and our neighbor who has summited many of the highest peaks around the world.
The quote was Getting better at estimates is like using time to plan the Everest climb instead of climbing smaller mountains for practice.
A couple background ideas:
- The picture above is Longs Peak. We can see Longs Peak from our back deck in Niwot Colorado. It's one of 53 14,000 foot mountains in Colorado - Fourteeners. Long is one of 4 along the front range.
In our neighborhood are several semi-pro mountain climbers. Like them, we moved to Colorado for the outdoor life - skiing, mountain and road biking, hiking, and climbing.
Now to the Tweet suggesting that getting better at estimating is replaced by doing (climb) smaller projects. Turns out estimates are needed for those smaller mountains, estimates are needed for all hiking and climbing. But first...
- No one is going to climb Everest - and live to tell about it - without first having summited many other high peaks.
- Anyone interested in the trials and tribulations of Everest should start with John Krakauer's Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster.
- Before attempting - and attempting is the operative word here - any signifiant peak several things have to be in place.
Let's start with those Things.
No matter how prepared you are, you need a plan. Practice on lower peaks is necessary but far from sufficient for success. Each summit requires planning in depth. For Long's peak you need a Plan A, Plan B, and possibly a Plan C. Most of all you need strong estimating skills and the accompanying experience to determine when to invoke each Plan. People die on Longs because they foolishly think they can beat the odds and proceed with Plan B only to discover Plan C - abandon the day - was what they should have done
So the suggest that summiting something big, like any of the Seven Summits, without both deep experience and deep planning is likely going to not be heard of again.
So the OP is likely speaking for not having summited much of anything, hard to tell, no experience resume attached.
The estimating part is basic, Can we make it to the key hole on Long's Peak before the afternoon storms come in? On Everest, can we make it to the Hillary Step before 1:00 PM? No? Turn back, you're gonna die if you continue.
Can we make it to the delivery date at the pace we're on now, AND with the emerging situation for the remaining work, AND for the cost we're trying to keep AND with the needed capabilities the customer needs? Remember the use of past performance is fine, If and Only If the future is something like the past, or we know something about how the future is different from the past.
When the future not like the past? We need a Plan B. And that plan has to have estimates of our future capabilities, cost expenditure rate, and our abilities to produce the needed capabilities.
ALL PLANNING IN THE PRESENCE OF UNCERTAINTY REQUIRES - MANDATES ACTUALLY - ESTIMATING.
Ask any hiker, climber, development manager, business person. Time to stop managing by platitudes and start managing by the principles of good management.