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Software Development Edge, The: Essays on Managing Successful Projects by Joe Marasco

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Chapter 10. Estimating

One of the mysteries of software development is why even the best programmers are so bad at estimating the time it will take them to get done. Either their estimates are wildly optimistic or, at the other extreme, overly conservative. When you get an estimate of “a couple of weeks” for some major subsystem to be created from scratch and, the same morning, the same estimate for what you think should be a two-line fix, you know that something ain’t right. It’s even worse if the two estimates come from the same programmer, although that would be a pretty rare occurrence!

I have to admit that I have not discovered any great secrets to good estimating. What I have discovered is that younger, more inexperienced developers tend ...

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