The NoEstimates Debate. New Look on Project Management

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For a long time, entrepreneurs believed that estimation in a decision making process is their everything. The generally accepted view is that, as soon as we learn how to make it correctly, our customers will immediately respect us.

However, this practice often showed poor performance in real life, that’s why we are paying less and less attention to it today. In the light of this reality, developers and team leaders all over the world have begun to refuse to estimate their work! They claim that entrepreneurs do not need to evaluate projects, features, tasks, and even may achieve their goals without planning, and that all they need is a roadmap. In a certain sense, this is a new trend, called a NoEstimates movement, which prompted us to explain its main idea more clearly.

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What is NoEstimates movement?

NoEstimates, first of all, is a delivery of a valuable result to the customer with an opportunity to chop the huge project into individual tasks in shorter work sprints. In the past, we would spend days on estimation, precise planning, and accurate deadlines. In fact, this was a waste of time, because it is highly probable that the customer would change some tasks or their vision regarding to the final outcome on several occasions.

Developers and team leaders all over the world have begun to refuse to estimate their work! They claim that entrepreneurs do not need to evaluate projects, features, tasks, and even may achieve their goals without planning. Click To Tweet

Meanwhile, time was passing by and estimates of task duration were becoming rougher. The industry was gradually coming to use accelerated methods of supplying the result to customers, and to reduce the release time.

Companies of the Silicon Valley are a clear example of this process. The time that is allotted for a team to develop a new product is constantly being cut down. In earlier days, they had 3 years to release a new version of the project, then time was reduced to two years, later – to eighteen months. Now it takes twelve months, because a new version of the product should be released every year. Let’s figure out what the essence of this movement is.

How does NoEstimates work in planning?

The idea behind NoEstimates isn’t to eliminate estimates per se, but rather to find other ways to reach desired results without specifically asking, “How long will it take?” Owners look through their roadmap supposing where they want to see their product in the next 6, 10, or 12 months. At this level, the foresight doesn’t have to be pinpoint accurate, just directionally correct.

This is where planning tools like Roadmap Planner come into play for planning and visualization of non-detailed tasks. It’s the best solution for self-organizing teams where every member knows their part of work, and who exactly is going to carry out a particular task. They are responsible for achieving the strategic objective within the deadline without reporting on each completed task.

Another case when the NoEstimates approach works is, for instance, when a customer adds a new feature to their request. Your team starts to plan additional works and assess resources to develop it, accordingly. If it’s not that long to implement, there is no need to wait for the major release: you can present this feature to your customer and immediately put it to test.

For better performance, it’s crucial to break large tasks into smaller ones. Then, it will be easier for you to provide the completed parts or scopes of features to customers even before the long-awaited update. In practice, when a project manager assigns a task and “dumps” ideas with precise release dates, the self-organizing team distributes responsibilities among themselves. It doesn’t matter how much time they will spend for execution of each item, the main idea is to complete the whole project by a certain date.

So, if you want to identify the status of a certain task and see its completion rate, Roadmap Planner is an easy way to do this. Using our productivity solution, you will have an opportunity to track the progress of the whole project and reallocate resources when necessary. Establish your team’s performance to become closer to the particular outcome.

Wrapping it up

We do not renounce the fact that there are thousands of cases when some things under certain conditions can be estimated and will get better with this. Yet, sometimes working in a continuous flow, without strong estimates, planning only roadmaps, is a great idea to try.

Of course, it is your choice whether to support NoEstimates or not. Just keep in mind that with a well-built roadmap, estimation is a waste of valuable time. That is why Roadmap Planner is the perfect solution here. This tool will help you identify every step towards your objective. Try it and see the key initiatives and milestones that your organization should tackle during the upcoming months, quarters, or years to reach the desired result.

Download Roadmap Planner to get the edge in a fast-changing business world.

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