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Software Estimation: Demystifying the Black Art by Steve McConnell

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Chapter 3. Value of Accurate Estimates

[The common definition of estimate is] “the most optimistic prediction that has a non-zero probability of coming true.” ... Accepting this definition leads irrevocably toward a method called what’s-the-earliest-date-by-which-you-can’t-prove-you-won’t-be-finished estimating.

Tom DeMarco

The inaccuracy of software project estimates—as muddied by unrealistic targets and unachievable commitments—has been a problem for many years. In the 1970s, Fred Brooks pointed out that “more software projects have gone awry for lack of calendar time than all other causes combined” (Brooks 1975). A decade later, Scott Costello observed that “deadline pressure is the single greatest enemy of software engineering” (Costello 1984). ...

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