Deception and Estimating; How We Fool Ourselves
June 8, 2011
I think everyone needs to see this morning keynote address by my friend Linda Rising at the Better Software Conference in Las Vegas on June 9th:
Deception and Estimating: How We Fool Ourselves
Linda Rising, Independent Consultant
Cognitive scientists tell us that we are hardwired for deception—overly optimistic about outcomes. In fact, we surely wouldn’t have survived without this trait. With this built-in bias as a starting point, it’s no wonder that software managers and teams almost always develop poor estimates. But that doesn’t mean all is lost. We must simply accept that our estimates are optimistic guesses and continually re-evaluate as we go. Linda Rising has been part of many development projects where sincere, honest people wanted to make the best estimates possible and used “scientific” approaches to make it happen—and all for naught. In many projects, because re-estimation was regarded as an admission of failure, the team spent too much time and endless meetings trying to “get it right.” Offering examples from ordinary life—especially from the way people eat and drink—Linda demonstrates how hard it is for us to see our poor estimating skills and offers practical advice on living and working with the self-deception that is hardwired in all of us.