A simple trick for better effort estimation

How long would it take for you to finish a shopping trip? Let us try two ways to arrive at an estimate.

First, close your eyes and come up with a number – which is what most people do.

Second, list out the different steps involved…

  • Preparing a shopping list
  • Walking / driving to the supermarket x 2
  • Collecting the items from the shelf
  • Queue up and check-out
  • Unpacking and stowing the items in your cupboard and the refrigerator

    … and then provide estimates for each of these items. Add them up, and include a 10% buffer.

I am willing to bet a lot of money that the second estimate is far more accurate than the first one.

Estimate in smaller pieces. Sure, it might take you a couple of minutes more than to pull a number out of the hat. But it is sure to help you plan better, mitigate stress and make promises that you can keep.

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