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Topics: Agile
Agile Estimates
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Is estimating necessary or wasteful in Agile?
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Depends on what you are estimating. I personally think most estimation you do in a standard project should still be done in an Agile project. You still want to get a rough sense of how long things will take you overall (most likely your managers want that information too.) You have to recognize that things will always pop up, even if you expect the project to be a month. Your time estimates will be off.
If you are estimating the work effort of tasks, this is essential. It's easier than long-term estimating and can be refined with experience. You have to figure the capacity of the people on the project team, having an idea of work effort can help you plan for this.
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Human being make estimations from the time they wake up to the time they go to bed. If not then the human being will not exists in the Universe. I have been working a lot on estimations into any environment and for lot of different type or products including I am researchig from long time ago on estimates with the CMU SEI. So, estimation are inherent to life. The problem is: as lot of other things there is a lot of missinformation on that. For example, there is a movement named #NoEstimates and I am interacting with them. When you analyze what this people propose is to make estimations. So, what I said them is: at least, change the name. #NoEstimate proposals are in the domain of Agile.
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I am not a big fan of estimating in hours. Estimating through sizing is a more practical approach, while also providing more of a safe-zone for the development team with less finite commital.

I follow and understand the #NoEstimate movement, though, practical only for the more mature teams/organizations.
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Unless you are following Kanban, then estimation is not wasteful but when doing agile, you do relative estimating using story points or any other measure (Coffee Beans) but your measure should be consistent for each project.
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Damian -

Agile promotes the use of empirical data for decision making and estimates are one way of quantifying uncertainty.

Sergio has referenced #NoEstimates - that movement is addressing the issues associated with premature commitments based on low fidelity estimates. However, there is value in estimates when they are developed and used appropriately.

As Andrew and Rami have indicated, teams following agile approaches might use relative sizing in place of hours/days estimates, but the objective is the same - to enable us to develop a forecast model for delivering value.

Kiron

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