No Estimates?

Over the last year or so software development estimates have become a popular topic.  The popularity stems from the inherent fact that estimating software development is difficult.  Some people are writing about ways to improve your estimates while others are writing about how to manage software development without estimates.

Those writing about how to manage software development without estimates have coined the phrase “no estimates.”  There is even a lively discussion on Twitter using the hashtag #noestimates.

My experience agrees with everyone that estimating software development is difficult and that maybe, there are better approaches we can take.  So as I run across information related to this topic I share it on this blog.

The first thing I would like to share is an Agile Lean Europe Google Hangout recording where Vasco Duarte leads a discussion on the “no estimate” approach:


  1. Great video Cecil, thanks for sharing. As a consultant/contractor, how do you manage coming up with a rough cost for a project without estimates? I assume a client would want to know if a project was going to cost 1 million dollars vs 10 million dollars for the features they require. Any thoughts?

  2. In that case I would look at what you do know, namely your resources and time. We know how many people we plan to put on the project and what our rate is. So then you just need to negotiate how long the contract will be for. Then you can give the client an estimated cost. The benefit of this is that what the client gets for that cost is completely up to them and can be changed as the project evolves. Keep in mind the idea of no estimates is only for large software projects. You would still want to put an estimate on any hardware costs that might be associated with the project.

Comments are closed.