Task Estimates

We had an iteration to upgrade some tools for our software. Went to a new Oracle client. Moved to Visual Studio 2008. Got a big jump in the Installshield version we were using. And moved up a version or two with InstallShield. We converted a lot of the projects. Then we headed into unit testing. The suits wanted a detailed breakdown of the work. The team lead broke the items down into modules. He used a rough estimate of one hour per module. Turns out that estimate was nowhere near accurate.

Now we are behind schedule. We have two problems. The unit testing is not close to being complete. And management wants a more detailed schedule. Adding more fidelity to the schedule might increase insight into the work being done. But it won't make us finish any quicker. We actually have to spend time to work on the schedule now. I layed out the two big challenges: (1) a bad set of initial estimates, and (2) surprise problems coming up during unit testing. No amount of high quality estimates are going to protect us against surprises.

Managers seem to only know about schedules. But they cannot generate the schedules. They need developers to do that. This is a catch-22. We need to finish up unit testing. That takes developer effort and resources. Now we need to manage the management who want to thelp. Their help is limited to assigning us more tasks that deal with the schedule. Feels like we are getting help we did not ask for. And that help isn't helping. It is hurting. Nothing new here through, right?