Practical Software Estimation Measurement

"Building an Estimation Center of Excellence" Webinar Replay and Q&A Highlights

If you were unable to attend "Building an Estimation Center of Excellence," the webinar replay and slides are now available. Here are the Q&A highlights:

How do you handle estimating change requests (scope creep). Do you estimate the entire project again, or do you just estimate the impact of the change requests?

It would depend on where we were in the project lifecycle. If we were still fairly early on (somewhere between the feasibility assessment and the refined estimate), I would add those into my sizing assumptions and re-estimate the project. If I'm already farther along and I get changes when I'm already constructing the system, then I would use my adaptive forecasting and add those in within the context of everything else I have to build as part of the deliverable release. This is because the impact will be bigger if we're farther along and we already have everything integrated and we're into testing versus earlier on when not a lot has been constructed. QSM's forecasting capabilities will be able to tell us the impact on schedule and cost.

Should the center of excellence estimate all projects regardless of size, or if the project is small, then have the project teams estimate it?

Most organizations that set these up will have a minimum cut off on project size, whether that's in terms of duration, scope, or cost. There will be some things that may be below the threshold of neccessitating a formal top-down estimation process. Now where those thresholds get set is very much a function of the organization and the type of work that they do. Generally there will be some sort of cost-benefit analysis that they will do. Perhaps a team can estimate work that will only take 2-3 weeks to do, but a 6 or 9 month project will need to go through the formal estimation process, because there's a lot of risk on a project of that size.

How long does it take to set up an estimation center of excellence?

It depends. Generally with the support of an estimation expert organization like QSM that has experience setting these up, we can set one in the pilot stage within 3-6 months. It takes a certain amount of time to go through the benchmarking activities. That's what my experience has been from working with clients and doing this in the past. 

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