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Project Estimation:
  Survival Guide



         1
Johnnie Fox
Enterprise Project Manager/Strategist




       Recovering Developer
       Business Analyst
       Project Manager
       Custom Development/IOS/Drupal
       $500 - $1,000,000 projects
       Currently leads enterprise development team    husband • geek
                                                      • photographer
       for MCN
                                                          • MAKE
                                                        enthusiast •
                                                         Kayaker •
                                                     traveler•entrepre
                                                           neur •


              Project Estimation:Presented by Johnnie Fox
Estimating Sucks




Project Estimation
Presented by Johnnie Fox
Estimating Sucks
•      Coders hate doing it




Project Estimation
Presented by Johnnie Fox
Estimating Sucks
•      Coders hate doing it

•      It won't be correct anyhow




Project Estimation
Presented by Johnnie Fox
Estimating Sucks
•      Coders hate doing it

•      It won't be correct anyhow

•      Skipping this step is the yellow brick
       road to Hell




Project Estimation
Presented by Johnnie Fox
Estimating Sucks
•      Coders hate doing it

•      It won't be correct anyhow

•      Skipping this step is the yellow brick
       road to Hell

•      Sets Expectations




Project Estimation
Presented by Johnnie Fox
Estimating Sucks
•      Coders hate doing it

•      It won't be correct anyhow

•      Skipping this step is the yellow brick
       road to Hell

•      Sets Expectations

•      Directly affects customer satisfaction




Project Estimation
Presented by Johnnie Fox
Estimating Sucks
•      Coders hate doing it

•      It won't be correct anyhow

•      Skipping this step is the yellow brick
       road to Hell

•      Sets Expectations

•      Directly affects customer satisfaction

•      Leads to good project management


Project Estimation
Presented by Johnnie Fox
Estimating Sucks




Project Estimation
Presented by Johnnie Fox
Estimating Sucks
•      Good estimates increases team
       morale




Project Estimation
Presented by Johnnie Fox
Estimating Sucks
•      Good estimates increases team
       morale

•      Builds Reputations




Project Estimation
Presented by Johnnie Fox
Estimating Sucks
•      Good estimates increases team
       morale

•      Builds Reputations

•      There is no pot of gold at the end of
       the rainbow unless you put it there




Project Estimation
Presented by Johnnie Fox
Estimating Sucks
•      Good estimates increases team
       morale

•      Builds Reputations

•      There is no pot of gold at the end of
       the rainbow unless you put it there

•      Keeps you from taking bad projects




Project Estimation
Presented by Johnnie Fox
Discovery and Design




 Project Estimation
 Presented by Johnnie Fox
Discovery and Design
 •      The good news is: its easier to estimate design
        work than an unknown project.




 Project Estimation
 Presented by Johnnie Fox
Discovery and Design
 •      The good news is: its easier to estimate design
        work than an unknown project.

 •      The other good news is: Customers will pay for
        good design work. 




 Project Estimation
 Presented by Johnnie Fox
Discovery and Design
 •      The good news is: its easier to estimate design
        work than an unknown project.

 •      The other good news is: Customers will pay for
        good design work. 

 •      Blowing off bad customers at this point is a bonus




 Project Estimation
 Presented by Johnnie Fox
Discovery and Design
 •      The good news is: its easier to estimate design
        work than an unknown project.

 •      The other good news is: Customers will pay for
        good design work. 

 •      Blowing off bad customers at this point is a bonus

 •      Discovery and Design are the highest value add in
        the process.




 Project Estimation
 Presented by Johnnie Fox
Discovery and Design
 •      The good news is: its easier to estimate design
        work than an unknown project.

 •      The other good news is: Customers will pay for
        good design work. 

 •      Blowing off bad customers at this point is a bonus

 •      Discovery and Design are the highest value add in
        the process.

 •      EVERY failed project skimped on these phases.


 Project Estimation
 Presented by Johnnie Fox
1. The problem
•       What is this project anyway?

•       What technologies involved

•       What is involved on the clients side

    •     Hardware

    •     Hosting 

    •     People

    •     Departments/managers


Project Estimation
Presented by Johnnie Fox
 Customer Involvement




  Project Estimation
  Presented by Johnnie Fox
 Customer Involvement
  •       Customer must be involved 




  Project Estimation
  Presented by Johnnie Fox
 Customer Involvement
  •        Customer must be involved 

      •      Can be one person 




  Project Estimation
  Presented by Johnnie Fox
 Customer Involvement
  •        Customer must be involved 

      •      Can be one person 

      •      Could be multiple people,  Only ONE Decision
             Maker!




  Project Estimation
  Presented by Johnnie Fox
 Customer Involvement
  •        Customer must be involved 

      •      Can be one person 

      •      Could be multiple people,  Only ONE Decision
             Maker!

      •      You know they are participating when they tell
             you you have it wrong




  Project Estimation
  Presented by Johnnie Fox
2.  Wireframes


•   Should be Low-Fi to begin with 

•   bigger than a napkin  - get more napkins




         Project Estimation
         Presented by Johnnie Fox
2. Wireframes
•       Tools

    •      Photoshop / Omnigraffel

    •      Google docs/drawing

    •      Napkins

    •      I like Balsamiq Mock-ups www.balsamiq.com

    •      Drupal?

    •      Tons of others - just search


    Project Estimation
    Presented by Johnnie Fox
Wireframes 
•   Users think on screen
    = magically done

•   You  should have a mock up of each
    "type" of page.

•   Each type of widget should be
    mocked up 

•   Mock-ups should be a part of the
    final design document with call outs
    to explain what happens where
    there is action.  

    Project Estimation
    Presented by Johnnie Fox
Wireframes
•      Print them out. Users
       should mark them up

•      Print them

•      On paper

•      Put a red pen in your
       users hand

•      Resist the urge to
       show mock-ups on screen


Project Estimation
Presented by Johnnie Fox
3. Power of Teams
•      An estimate made by anyone that does not fully
       understand the work that is to be done is going to
       be poor.

•      Giving your team a look at the project can help you
       avoid potholes

•      Don't Poison the well - don't give leading information

•      It is better to ask how long did this take you the last
       time than "How long will this take"



    Project Estimation
    Presented by Johnnie Fox
4. Estimate Time 
Time only comes in 2 sizes

• 1/2 Day 
• Full Day

Beware of estimates for a single item that are larger than 2 days

You DO NOT understand the steps if your estimate is larger
than 2 days.  
My experience is that an estimate of 3 days will be 5 days to
weeks and weeks and weeks.....



      Project Estimation                              Photo Credit: h. koppdelaney
                                                   http://www.flickr.com/photos/h-k-d/
      Presented by Johnnie Fox
Did I mention that task
estimates of over 2 days
     are WRONG?




                             Photo Credit:Bob Fomal
                  http://www.flickr.com/photos/fornal/406285615/
5. Customer Works
• The customer must understand the functionality and appearance
  of what is going to be delivered.
• You know they are participating if you get complaints
• Do not accept "Ya, thats fine"
• Customer has to be make the choices                  Photo credit: Amanda Slater
  about compromises                            http://www.flickr.com/photos/pikerslanefarm/
                                                                4996863774/

• Pictures describe better than text




       Project Estimation
       Presented by Johnnie Fox
6. MAKE A LIST
Modified Delphi Estimation method.
Developed by Rand Corporation in the 40's
Fancy word for list - Work Breakdown
Structure (WBS)

 • Members of the team make their list of
   tasks SEPARATELY 
• After lists are made members meet and compare lists.  
• Everyone must participate. 
• If there is no conflict and you didn't get any additions you are doing it
  wrong.



          Project Estimation
          Presented by Johnnie Fox
Time estimates are like hockey:
  It isn't really a game until a fight breaks out



• Estimate separately
• Fight out the
  differences together                             Photo Credit:Peter
                                  http://www.flickr.com/photos/psmithy/3282607845/




       Project Estimation
       Presented by Johnnie Fox
Examples:

Built by the underwear gnomes




       Project Estimation
       Presented by Johnnie Fox
About those lists

How do you create a task breakdown for something you haven't done
before?

• You can't
1.Do a prototype
2.Find someone who has done it before sub-contract/buy training

–


         Project Estimation
         Presented by Johnnie Fox
About those lists
 •      Common pitfalls:
1.Undiscovered requirements
2.Undiscovered requirements
3.Undiscovered requirements
4.Overoptimistic/pessimistic  team members
5.Undiscovered requirements
6."You don't know how much you do not know"
7.Uncommitted members of team (includes customer)




     Project Estimation
     Presented by Johnnie Fox
If I add up all the time..its
too much
• Since the customer is involved. Let them
  decide what to cut. Or to add budget.
• Add up all the time then decide if you want
  to buy/discount the project
Check your assumptions
• Re-factor the solution
• Reality will not change to no matter how much you need it to or
  how convenient that might be.
• Some features may have to be cut
• Some projects should be avoided.



        Project Estimation                        Photo Credit: Anthony Kelly
                                                  http://www.flickr.com/photos/
        Presented by Johnnie Fox                 62337512@N00/4335060317/
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
1.Understand the problem
2.Make a Wireframe.
3.Make the Customer tell you why its wrong
4.Repeat steps 2 and 3 until Customer is exhausted
5.Make a list of tasks (Work Breakdown Structure)
6.Estimate time in fixed amounts
7.Use the skill of the people you work with.
8.Make a list of declined, deferred and discussed items that are NOT
  included.  Put this list in the contract
9.Contract should state that only features that are in the contract are
  included.  No others.



        Project Estimation
        Presented by Johnnie Fox
Extreme Programming by Kent Beck
                  Getting Real by 37 Signals
Applied Software Project Management by Stellman and Greene
           Software Estimation by Steve McConnell
Cat Herder
Fire Fighter
Bad Dancer
Project Manager 
Researcher
Developer




    Johnnie Fox
    Johnnie@musiccitynetworks.com
    twitter: johnniefox

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Project Estimation:Survival Guide

  • 1. Project Estimation: Survival Guide 1
  • 2. Johnnie Fox Enterprise Project Manager/Strategist Recovering Developer Business Analyst Project Manager Custom Development/IOS/Drupal $500 - $1,000,000 projects Currently leads enterprise development team husband • geek • photographer for MCN • MAKE enthusiast • Kayaker • traveler•entrepre neur • Project Estimation:Presented by Johnnie Fox
  • 4. Estimating Sucks • Coders hate doing it Project Estimation Presented by Johnnie Fox
  • 5. Estimating Sucks • Coders hate doing it • It won't be correct anyhow Project Estimation Presented by Johnnie Fox
  • 6. Estimating Sucks • Coders hate doing it • It won't be correct anyhow • Skipping this step is the yellow brick road to Hell Project Estimation Presented by Johnnie Fox
  • 7. Estimating Sucks • Coders hate doing it • It won't be correct anyhow • Skipping this step is the yellow brick road to Hell • Sets Expectations Project Estimation Presented by Johnnie Fox
  • 8. Estimating Sucks • Coders hate doing it • It won't be correct anyhow • Skipping this step is the yellow brick road to Hell • Sets Expectations • Directly affects customer satisfaction Project Estimation Presented by Johnnie Fox
  • 9. Estimating Sucks • Coders hate doing it • It won't be correct anyhow • Skipping this step is the yellow brick road to Hell • Sets Expectations • Directly affects customer satisfaction • Leads to good project management Project Estimation Presented by Johnnie Fox
  • 11. Estimating Sucks • Good estimates increases team morale Project Estimation Presented by Johnnie Fox
  • 12. Estimating Sucks • Good estimates increases team morale • Builds Reputations Project Estimation Presented by Johnnie Fox
  • 13. Estimating Sucks • Good estimates increases team morale • Builds Reputations • There is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow unless you put it there Project Estimation Presented by Johnnie Fox
  • 14. Estimating Sucks • Good estimates increases team morale • Builds Reputations • There is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow unless you put it there • Keeps you from taking bad projects Project Estimation Presented by Johnnie Fox
  • 15.
  • 16. Discovery and Design Project Estimation Presented by Johnnie Fox
  • 17. Discovery and Design • The good news is: its easier to estimate design work than an unknown project. Project Estimation Presented by Johnnie Fox
  • 18. Discovery and Design • The good news is: its easier to estimate design work than an unknown project. • The other good news is: Customers will pay for good design work.  Project Estimation Presented by Johnnie Fox
  • 19. Discovery and Design • The good news is: its easier to estimate design work than an unknown project. • The other good news is: Customers will pay for good design work.  • Blowing off bad customers at this point is a bonus Project Estimation Presented by Johnnie Fox
  • 20. Discovery and Design • The good news is: its easier to estimate design work than an unknown project. • The other good news is: Customers will pay for good design work.  • Blowing off bad customers at this point is a bonus • Discovery and Design are the highest value add in the process. Project Estimation Presented by Johnnie Fox
  • 21. Discovery and Design • The good news is: its easier to estimate design work than an unknown project. • The other good news is: Customers will pay for good design work.  • Blowing off bad customers at this point is a bonus • Discovery and Design are the highest value add in the process. • EVERY failed project skimped on these phases. Project Estimation Presented by Johnnie Fox
  • 22. 1. The problem • What is this project anyway? • What technologies involved • What is involved on the clients side • Hardware • Hosting  • People • Departments/managers Project Estimation Presented by Johnnie Fox
  • 23.  Customer Involvement Project Estimation Presented by Johnnie Fox
  • 24.  Customer Involvement •  Customer must be involved  Project Estimation Presented by Johnnie Fox
  • 25.  Customer Involvement •  Customer must be involved  • Can be one person  Project Estimation Presented by Johnnie Fox
  • 26.  Customer Involvement •  Customer must be involved  • Can be one person  • Could be multiple people,  Only ONE Decision Maker! Project Estimation Presented by Johnnie Fox
  • 27.  Customer Involvement •  Customer must be involved  • Can be one person  • Could be multiple people,  Only ONE Decision Maker! • You know they are participating when they tell you you have it wrong Project Estimation Presented by Johnnie Fox
  • 28. 2.  Wireframes • Should be Low-Fi to begin with  • bigger than a napkin  - get more napkins Project Estimation Presented by Johnnie Fox
  • 29. 2. Wireframes • Tools • Photoshop / Omnigraffel • Google docs/drawing • Napkins • I like Balsamiq Mock-ups www.balsamiq.com • Drupal? • Tons of others - just search Project Estimation Presented by Johnnie Fox
  • 30. Wireframes  • Users think on screen = magically done • You  should have a mock up of each "type" of page. • Each type of widget should be mocked up  • Mock-ups should be a part of the final design document with call outs to explain what happens where there is action.   Project Estimation Presented by Johnnie Fox
  • 31. Wireframes • Print them out. Users should mark them up • Print them • On paper • Put a red pen in your users hand • Resist the urge to show mock-ups on screen Project Estimation Presented by Johnnie Fox
  • 32. 3. Power of Teams • An estimate made by anyone that does not fully understand the work that is to be done is going to be poor. • Giving your team a look at the project can help you avoid potholes • Don't Poison the well - don't give leading information • It is better to ask how long did this take you the last time than "How long will this take" Project Estimation Presented by Johnnie Fox
  • 33. 4. Estimate Time  Time only comes in 2 sizes • 1/2 Day  • Full Day Beware of estimates for a single item that are larger than 2 days You DO NOT understand the steps if your estimate is larger than 2 days.   My experience is that an estimate of 3 days will be 5 days to weeks and weeks and weeks..... Project Estimation Photo Credit: h. koppdelaney http://www.flickr.com/photos/h-k-d/ Presented by Johnnie Fox
  • 34. Did I mention that task estimates of over 2 days are WRONG? Photo Credit:Bob Fomal http://www.flickr.com/photos/fornal/406285615/
  • 35. 5. Customer Works • The customer must understand the functionality and appearance of what is going to be delivered. • You know they are participating if you get complaints • Do not accept "Ya, thats fine" • Customer has to be make the choices Photo credit: Amanda Slater about compromises http://www.flickr.com/photos/pikerslanefarm/ 4996863774/ • Pictures describe better than text Project Estimation Presented by Johnnie Fox
  • 36. 6. MAKE A LIST Modified Delphi Estimation method. Developed by Rand Corporation in the 40's Fancy word for list - Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) • Members of the team make their list of tasks SEPARATELY  • After lists are made members meet and compare lists.   • Everyone must participate.  • If there is no conflict and you didn't get any additions you are doing it wrong. Project Estimation Presented by Johnnie Fox
  • 37. Time estimates are like hockey: It isn't really a game until a fight breaks out • Estimate separately • Fight out the differences together Photo Credit:Peter http://www.flickr.com/photos/psmithy/3282607845/ Project Estimation Presented by Johnnie Fox
  • 38. Examples: Built by the underwear gnomes Project Estimation Presented by Johnnie Fox
  • 39.
  • 40. About those lists How do you create a task breakdown for something you haven't done before? • You can't 1.Do a prototype 2.Find someone who has done it before sub-contract/buy training – Project Estimation Presented by Johnnie Fox
  • 41. About those lists • Common pitfalls: 1.Undiscovered requirements 2.Undiscovered requirements 3.Undiscovered requirements 4.Overoptimistic/pessimistic  team members 5.Undiscovered requirements 6."You don't know how much you do not know" 7.Uncommitted members of team (includes customer) Project Estimation Presented by Johnnie Fox
  • 42. If I add up all the time..its too much • Since the customer is involved. Let them decide what to cut. Or to add budget. • Add up all the time then decide if you want to buy/discount the project Check your assumptions • Re-factor the solution • Reality will not change to no matter how much you need it to or how convenient that might be. • Some features may have to be cut • Some projects should be avoided. Project Estimation Photo Credit: Anthony Kelly http://www.flickr.com/photos/ Presented by Johnnie Fox 62337512@N00/4335060317/
  • 43. PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER 1.Understand the problem 2.Make a Wireframe. 3.Make the Customer tell you why its wrong 4.Repeat steps 2 and 3 until Customer is exhausted 5.Make a list of tasks (Work Breakdown Structure) 6.Estimate time in fixed amounts 7.Use the skill of the people you work with. 8.Make a list of declined, deferred and discussed items that are NOT included.  Put this list in the contract 9.Contract should state that only features that are in the contract are included.  No others. Project Estimation Presented by Johnnie Fox
  • 44. Extreme Programming by Kent Beck Getting Real by 37 Signals Applied Software Project Management by Stellman and Greene Software Estimation by Steve McConnell
  • 45. Cat Herder Fire Fighter Bad Dancer Project Manager  Researcher Developer Johnnie Fox Johnnie@musiccitynetworks.com twitter: johnniefox

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