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Planning and Estimation

From the “Software Engineering Cookbook” Series — How good planning and estimation can help you deliver robust software on time

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Another day at Unikorn Inc.

It’s the start of the sprint. We have already sat down with the Product team in the past two weeks to flesh out the features we want to work on, and now it’s down to us to come up with a sensible plan that can deliver as many of these features as possible.

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The development plan

Regardless of specific sprint process, there are normally three activities that the engineering team needs to perform before implementation can begin:

  • Task breakdown : The deconstruction of the feature into smaller components / tasks that can be assigned to different team members for implementation
  • Estimation : How long it takes to do each of the tasks
  • Work assignment : Who is going to do each of the tasks
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Task breakdown

The purpose of task breakdown is to divide the work into smaller tasks that can be assigned to different engineers so that the feature can be implemented “in parallel” as much as possible. It also helps the team to analyze the feature a bit more before coding begins, uncovering potential gaps in the technical specs.

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Estimation of a task is highly dependent on who will do the task. On the other hand, you cannot assign resources without knowing how long it will take to do the work.

Photo by Kevin Ku on Unsplash

Work Assignment

Once you have a good task breakdown and initial estimation, it is time to pick the team and finalize the implementation plan.

Photo by Artur Matosyan on Unsplash



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Omar Rabbolini

Writing about life, technology, software engineering practice and startups | Website: