Why is it that when I am asked to estimate a project, I switch into abused-dog mode? My first instinct is to dive under the desk and whimper, which I promptly suppress in favor of other, hopefully more productive approaches.
So the last time I was asked, I stewed about it for 24 hours, talked with management-experienced friends, then finally did the sensible thing: I went to a colleague and ‘fessed up. “I’m not that good at this. And not only am I not good at this, I can’t calm myself enough to make myself good at this. May I get some help?” Why certainly. So yesterday we started to break down my project into finer detail. I drew up a spreadsheet with tasks, estimated each on a story point scale, added it up, and multiplied by 3 to account for the fact that I’m not Donald Knuth. I added a column for actual time, and hopefully, over time I will get an idea of the value of my own personal human coefficient, which I suspect will be rather high.
I reviewed Andy Lester’s Preventing Crisis talk, and asked my former colleague Buddy Burden for the story point scale in use at Rent.
|Story Points||The Buddy Scale||The Dave Scale|
|dink||“We’ve already spent more time talking about it than it would take to just do it.”||An issue added that is quick to implement i.e., < 1 hour, equivalent to .25 story points|
|1||“Pfft. That’s nothing.”||hours|
|2||“That’s not too bad …”||hours to a day (or two)|
|3||“Not too awful, but non-trivial.”||a few days|
|5||“This is some real work.”||days to a week (or two)|
|8||“This is surprisingly difficult.”||a few weeks|
|13||“This really sucks.”||weeks to months|
|21||“There’s no way one person could do this by themselves.”||weeks to months for multiple people|
|40||“This is a major project.”||months for multiple people|
|100||“If they truly understood how heinous this was, they wouldn’t want to do it any more.”||months for a lot of people|