“Small” is an Estimate

One of the ironies of the discussion on no-estimates is that the no-estimate proponents do in fact estimate. In a small way.

Like all Agilists the no-estimation guys focus on delivering small user stories frequently. They rightly want to maximise learning and get software live as soon as possible. Taking on small chunks of functionality facilitates this.

But to me “small” is an estimate. Others agree, for example both Chris Collis and George Dinwiddie mentioned this in response to my earlier post Estimate to Inform Investment Decisions.

The process of finding small user stories includes intrinsic estimation. It divides user stories into small enough to drop into development and others which are too large.

Small is an Estimate

Small is an Estimate


Despite being a pro-estimation guy I only use one size category more than the no-estimate guys use. I currently use “small”, “medium” and “large”.

Admittedly the no-estimates guys only do one estimate at a time and don’t commit to much more than a promise to finish the current user story soon. I commit to delivering entire products/projects.

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