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Estimate Software Delivery With Confidence

Commit to achievable software releases by grounding realistic expectations.

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Contributors

  • Benjamin Palacio, Senior Information Systems Analyst, County of Placer
  • Wayne Helman, Founder and President, DigThisData
  • Jeremy Stark, Head of Solutions, ALM Works
  • Steve Tockey, Principal Consultant, Construx Software
  • 5 anonymous contributors

Your Challenge

  • Estimation and planning practices set and reinforce the expectations of product delivery, which is a key driver of IT satisfaction.
  • However, today’s rapidly scaling and increasingly complex products and business needs create mounting pressure for teams to make accurate estimates with little knowledge of the problem or solution to it, risking poor-quality products.
  • Many organizations lack the critical foundations involved in making acceptable estimates in collaboration with the various perspectives and estimation stakeholders.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Estimation reflects your culture and operating model. The accuracy of your estimates is dependent on the roles involved, which is not encouraged in traditional and top-down methodologies. Stakeholders must respect and support the team’s estimates.
  • Estimates support value delivery. IT satisfaction is driven by the delivery of valuable products and services. Estimates set the appropriate stakeholder expectations to ensure successful delivery and make the right decisions.
  • Estimates are more than just guesses. They are tools used to make critical business, product, and technical decisions and inform how to best utilize resources and funding.

Impact and Result

  • Establish the right expectations. Gain a grounded understanding of estimation value and limitations. Discuss estimation challenges to determine if poor practices and tactics are the root causes or symptoms.
  • Strengthen analysis and estimation practices. Obtain a thorough view of the product backlog item (PBI) through good analysis tactics. Incorporate multiple analysis and estimation tactics to verify and validate assumptions.
  • Incorporate estimates into your delivery lifecycle. Review and benchmark estimates, and update expectations as more is learned.

Research & Tools

Start here – read the Executive Brief

Read our concise Executive Brief to find out why you should optimize your estimation practice, review Info-Tech’s methodology, and understand the four ways we can support you in completing this project.

1. Justify estimation optimization

Set the right stakeholder expectations for your delivery estimates and plans.

2. Commit to achievable delivery

Adopt the analysis, estimation, commitment, and communication tactics to successfully develop your delivery plan.

3. Mature your estimation practice

Build your estimation optimization roadmap.

Guided Implementations

This guided implementation is a five call advisory process.

Guided Implementation #1 - Justify Estimation Optimization

Call #1 - Discuss Info-Tech’s perspective and kick off this initiative.
Call #2 - Review your expectations and current state.

Guided Implementation #2 - Commit to Achievable Delivery

Call #1 - Discuss estimation and planning good practices and their applications.
Call #2 - Review your desired tactics and approaches.

Guided Implementation #3 - Mature Your Estimation Practice

Call #1 - Review your optimization roadmap.

Onsite Workshop

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Onsite workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost onsite delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Module 1: Set the Context

The Purpose

  • Discuss the decisions that estimates will help make.
  • Level set estimation expectations by clarifying what they can and cannot do.
  • Review the current state of your estimation practice.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Grounded understanding of estimation that is accepted by all audiences and stakeholders.
  • Identification of whether estimation practices are the root cause of estimation challenges or a symptom of a different issue.

Activities

Outputs

1.1

Define estimation expectations.

  • Estimation expectations
1.2

Reveal your root cause challenges.

  • Root causes of estimation challenges

Module 2: Build Your Estimation Practice

The Purpose

  • Discuss the estimation and planning practices used in the industry.
  • Define the appropriate tactics to use to make key business and delivery decisions.
  • Simulate the tactics to verify and validate their fit with your teams.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Knowledge of good practices that can improve the effectiveness of your estimates and plans.
  • Practice using new tactics.

Activities

Outputs

2.1

Ground estimation fundamentals.

  • Estimation glossary and guiding principles
2.2

Strengthen your analysis tactics.

  • Defined analysis tactics
2.3

Strengthen your estimation tactics.

  • Defined estimation and consensus-building tactics
2.4

Commit and communicate delivery.

  • Defined commitment and communication tactics
2.5

Simulate your target state planning and estimation tactics.

  • Lessons learned

Module 3: Define Your Optimization Roadmap

The Purpose

  • Review the scope and achievability of your improved estimation and planning practice.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Realistic and achievable estimation optimization roadmap.

Activities

Outputs

3.1

Mature your estimation practice.

  • Estimation optimization roadmap