#14 – High-Level Estimate

Authors’ comments:

When product development is funded by larger programs or projects governed by stage-gate models, it can be difficult to fully or partially ripe the fruits of the agile way of working. In this case, a waterfall-oriented project sponsor would want an initial estimate in order to assess the business case and allocate the funds. Here, the worst thing to do is to provide this estimate without asking the team to “take a bite” or break out a Spike.

If we cannot change the way that development funding works in our company, another way of overcoming this situation is by convincing the organization, project sponsor and management.that no rough, high-level estimates will be made by just one person and without a development team having taken a short, time-boxed dive into the work to be estimated. You can perhaps write into the Definition of Ready that, without a Spike, an estimate simply cannot be provided, and thus the PBI cannot be planned by the team. We know it’s easier said than done, but doing the right thing is not always easy.