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How to unintentionally lie to your client and look like a chump when it's all over

by petdance (Parson)
on May 31, 2001 at 17:48 UTC ( #84554=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to How to calculate development time?

You're setting yourself up for spectacular failure. I mean full-blown, 4th-of-July-level spectacular.

I don't have the detailed spec yet, but need to know how to estimate a delivery time.

You can't. Any number you give the powers that be will be bogus.

Them: "I need you to drive me somewhere. How long will it take?"
You: "Well, where are we going?"
Them: "Oh, just out of state."
You: (thinking... "Hmm, not detailed, but I have an idea.") "Oh, maybe a day."

...later...

Them: "OK, we're driving from New York to San Diego. And we'll be there tomorrow, right? 'cause if we're not, it's your ass."
You: "Uh-oh."

I have decided that the cheapest and best option would be to use Perl and MySQL, hosted by an ISP.

How could you have made that determination without a detailed spec?

You: "We'll be making this trip in my Yugo."
Them: "Oh, by the way, I have a few boxes of stuff I have to bring. Well, OK, a lot of boxes of stuff. And a refrigerator."
You: "Uh oh."
Them: "And we'll be there tomorrow, right?"

The end result?

Them, to others: "Man, all I wanted was a little trip, and he just screwed the whole thing up, and it took forever to get there. I wouldn't use him again if you paid me."

Run, do not walk, to the bookstore (or Fatbrain) and buy yourself a copy of Steve McConnell's excellent Software Project Survival Guide. Read it. Then, reconsider the wisdom of estimating anything without knowing exactly what you're estimating.

xoxo,
Andy

%_=split/;/,".;;n;u;e;ot;t;her;c; ".   #   Andy Lester
'Perl ;@; a;a;j;m;er;y;t;p;n;d;s;o;'.  #   http://petdance.com
"hack";print map delete$_{$_},split//,q<   andy@petdance.com   >


Comment on How to unintentionally lie to your client and look like a chump when it's all over
Re: Re: How to unintentionally lie to your client and look like a chump when it's all over
by bastard (Hermit) on May 31, 2001 at 20:50 UTC
    >I don't have the detailed spec yet, but need to know how to estimate a delivery time.

    You can't. Any number you give the powers that be will be bogus.

    Man I wish I could ++ you more than once for that statement. I've seen that too many times.

    Death March by Edward Yourdon is also a good book to read regarding Development projects.

Re: How to unintentionally lie to your client and look like a chump when it's all over
by mugwumpjism (Hermit) on Jun 14, 2001 at 22:29 UTC

    Aiiii!

    Closely related to the Scotty principle; tell them 3 times longer than it's going to take, then finish it early and say "yeah, things slipped into place a little sooner than expected". Trick to making this work: ensure that you end up charging less, too.

      The problem with the Scotty method is that your project might well take 6 times longer than you think it's going to take.

      Also, Scotty had reasonable requirements. "Give me warp speed in 3 minutes or we're all dead" is a clear requirement.

      xoxo,
      Andy

      %_=split/;/,".;;n;u;e;ot;t;her;c; ".   #   Andy Lester
      'Perl ;@; a;a;j;m;er;y;t;p;n;d;s;o;'.  #   http://petdance.com
      "hack";print map delete$_{$_},split//,q<   andy@petdance.com   >
      

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