Poor Estimation: Major Root Cause of Project Failure

Poor Estimation: Major Root Cause of Project Failure

I find it interesting how many people just go forward without a clue as to what is involved in developing and operating an IT system.  I spent the week at the birthplace of root cause analysis.  What a pleasure to hear leaders state “amazing” that they could get visibility into the cost, schedule, risk and reliability of a system.  And to hear them identify their current estimating difficulties as a root cause of project failure.  Here are a few typical scenarios:

1. Don’t estimate at all: We will go forward and do good things…and tell you when we are done.

2. Estimate based on simple guessing: We think we can do it for x in y time.  But why?  How is it repeatable? How can we improve?

3. Estimates reduced by mandate: Decent estimates that are politically incorrect, often reduced considerably to meet an impossible deadline or cost.

When the estimate is bad, the associated plan (you do have a plan, don’t you?) is doomed from the start.  Expectations are not met, shortcuts are taken attempting to make up the time, business value is lost as projects are late or canceled.

I also have to shake my head when I see programs that use earned value to track but do not have a viable baseline to track from.

Go Back

Related Resources

1099 Contractor Opening for Digital Nomad

The Organizational Risks of not performing Robust Should Cost Analysis

Using SEER Space to Estimate Constellations of Satellites