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How do I communicate if I won't hit an estimate?

General • Asked by Chris Zempel

Here's a situation I see come up often.

New developers (I consider myself here) will always estimate wrong. They will also feel bound to their estimates as deadlines.

What's the high value way to demonstrate willingness to share estimate revisions promptly and transparently? What's important to remember when you start getting stressed out?



I think aside from the suggestions mentioned in that thread, the topic of estimations is important to have a conversation on. Over time, I've learned that if I estimate X hours to complete a project with my gut feeling, the actual amount of time I will spend is between 2-3x what I feel like. Therefore, I always give the clients the estimate of 3x my initial gut feeling. It adds in some safe padding being at the high end in case I totally misinterpreted something plus it also gives me a good bit of freedom to impress the client if I'm actually on the lower end.

Your multipliers will vary and you'll have to make estimates and measure the actual results over many projects to feel out where you naturally judge. As time goes, you'll get better at this and you'll have attempted certain pieces of the project enough times to know almost exactly how long they'll take which reduces the overall fragility of your estimations.


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