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Software Estimation: Demystifying the Black Art by Steve McConnell

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Appendix C. Software Estimation Tips

Chapter 1

Tip #1

Distinguish between estimates, targets, and commitments.

Tip #2

When you’re asked to provide an estimate, determine whether you’re supposed to be estimating or figuring out how to hit a target.

Tip #3

When you see a single-point “estimate,” ask whether the number is an estimate or whether it’s really a target.

Tip #4

When you see a single-point estimate, that number’s probability is not 100%. Ask what the probability of that number is.

Chapter 2

Tip #5

Don’t provide “percentage confident” estimates (especially “90% confident”) unless you have a quantitatively derived basis for doing so.

Tip #6

Avoid using artificially narrow ranges. Be sure the ranges you use in your estimates don’t misrepresent your confidence ...

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