Negotiating Realistic Cost & Schedule Targets with Agile Estimation

Negotiating Realistic Cost & Schedule Targets with Agile Estimation

Software teams are often asked to stay within a certain budget or schedule without having a data-driven way to plan and negotiate. This can often lead to unrealistic commitments and, worse, a product delivery that's short on features, late or over budget. What if there were a way to evaluate trade-offs early in the decision-making process, before any detailed planning occurs? This video shows how to use QSM's SLIM-Estimate to generate defensible estimates you can present to stakeholders early in the planning process.

Keith Ciocco

Keith Ciocco has more than 29 years of experience working in sales and customer service, with 21 of those years spent at QSM. As Vice President of Sales, his primary responsibilities include managing business development, existing client relations, customer retention, and response with a major focus on supporting the QSM client base with their software estimation and measurement goals.


Do you ever run into situations when you know going in that your fixed schedule or budget is unrealistic? You're not alone and at QSM we have some ways that you can leverage estimation tools early in the decision making process to help.  

For example, say your scrum teams are being asked to deliver a certain amount of functionality in a planned release schedule you’re not sure is feasible.

You can use QSM’s SLIM-Estimate tool to determine the most likely outcome.

So what can you do if the target schedule seems unrealistic? One option is to add more people.

SLIM-Estimate leverages time-tested models to calculate the impact of trade-offs. 

In this case, adding more people would only allow for a very modest amount of schedule compression, while substantially increasing the cost. Probably not worth going over budget, right?

If the schedule is non-negotiable, you can look at alternative scenarios, like how much functionality you can deliver in that period of time. Wow, only 60%!

These types of visualizations are powerful when presenting to senior level management and stakeholders.

To help communicate your estimate results even further, you can leverage relevant agile trendlines from QSM's database of over 13,000 projects -- the largest of its kind -- to show how your estimates check out against the industry.

In this case, it shows the original estimate compares favorably to the industry agile trendline and your own historical data. It’s realistic and it's defensible. 

This has been another estimation tip from QSM. Contact us today to find out how easy it is to implement these agile estimation best practices in your organization.