Sunday, June 10, 2007

What can be evidence for "Estimating Rationale" in Project Planning?

What can be documented evidence for "estimation rationale?"

Hey, I asked a Sr. Engineer for an estimate and he told me. Isn't that rational?

It may be rational, but it isn't evidence of estimating "rationale." That darn "e!" changes everything. I hate that!!

Estimation rationale is a way to explain how you and your team came up with an estimate. Did you use any specific estimating process? If so, what were its outputs? Did you count reports, screens, features, functions points, or lines of code? If so, what was the output of that exercise? If you’re in an “agile” world, did you estimate a number of releases and iterations and allocate the high-priority features you planned on delivering during each one?

I always ask myself “why does the model want to know this?” when I’m stuck trying to figure out why a practice was put into the CMMI. In this case, they seem to have been looking for evidence that an engineer didn’t just “guess” at what the estimate would be – but went through some process to validate it. This is process is the“rational.”

So, how did you validate your last estimate? The output of that work is your evidence. Or . . . did you just guess?