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Ovid (2709)

Ovid
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Stuff with the Perl Foundation. A couple of patches in the Perl core. A few CPAN modules. That about sums it up.

Journal of Ovid (2709)

Tuesday February 11, 2003
12:37 PM

Just say 'no'

[ #10528 ]

Boss: Ovid, can you give me an estimate of how much work will be involved with integrating these two systems?

Ovid: Given that the neither system exists, we have no idea what the second system does, the specs for the first system are incomplete and, in any event, our specs are always wrong, no, I can't give you an estimate.

Grumble...

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  • That's not a bad answer, except for the "our specs are always wrong" dig, which may be true, but saying so in that context is kind of like pissing into a fan. It implies that you can never give estimates.

    The option between no estimate and "Tuesday, March 3rd at 3:47pm" is to give a confidence range. "Based on what we know, it's probably going to take 4 people between 2 and 6 months. To give you a better estimate, I would need to know X, Y, and Z, and you need to decide P and Q" gives management something

  • "I can't give you a useful estimate" may be more accurate. The more you know about a project, including your previous experience with it, the better your estimates will be. As long as everyone realizes that there's a feedback loop there, you'll be better off.

  • by VSarkiss (704) on 2003.02.11 15:18 (#16909) Journal

    Ah yes, "Build an interface between null and void". I get this sort of request surprisingly often.

    As the others are noting, you can always provide an estimate, but you need to qualify the level of confidence. "As things stand, I think it'll take X people Y weeks, and I'm 10% confident of my answer. When they get system P built to the point where I can see the data and test the interface, I can give you estimates with 90% confidence." Or some such.

  • A co-worker sometimes pulls out this quote he attributes to a former manager: "You go ahead and get started coding and I will find out what they want."