ONE THING on How to Estimate

Engineers are rightfully afraid of providing estimates for things they don’t know enough about. If they’ve been around the block, they’ve probably been burned by a wild-ass guess that turned into a commitment to a date when someone in management got hold of it.

For Product people, a quick way to get over initial reluctance around estimates is to do the estimates yourself and then ask someone involved in the implementation for a reality check. This works well in the stage where you are just trying to sort out priorities and hyper-accuracy isn’t needed. By taking responsibility for the estimate, you absolve others from that feeling of premature commitment. (Also, it turns out it’s much easier to get an engineer to tell you why you’re wrong than to get them to give an estimate themselves.)

I talk estimates in Chapter 7 of my book Product Roadmaps Relaunched. Agree? Disagree? Tell me a story.

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