Estimates are used as metrics for forecasting and measuring a teams performance by project managers. For most of my career as an engineer, my attitude towards estimates has ranged from hostility to apathy. It was a ritual that made you think instead of “doing real work”. With experience, I have come to realise that most defects and bottlenecks in a team are because of problems of misconception. The act of estimation gets the team in a room and forces engineers to think and execute the story in their head. This brings hidden risks out in the open and you can tackle them early. Estimates are a useful metric. The act of estimation actually makes your team more efficient at delivering high quality software

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When will it be done? This is a question that every developer in their daily standup. The most common answer you’ll hear is “It is almost done, but ….”. In our head, we are thinking “I fought some dragons yesterday to get very little done. Yet, I am supremely confident that today is going to be a cakewalk (law of averages right?)”. This is developer optimism. This is what keeps us going everyday. We forget the wounds of yesterday and hope for a better today. So if you are someone who wants understand and make progress , a better question to ask would be “What can block you from moving forward today?”. This forces us to think more objectively and you will get a better answer than “It is almost done…but”.

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