Workshop: NoEstimates

The default use of an "estimate-driven" approach is pervasive in software development efforts. While estimates can be useful, it is worthwhile to scrutinize our use of estimates, and to seek better ways to manage the development of software when estimates are not appropriate. For this workshop, I am referring to the use of estimates of cost, time, or effort for software projects, features, or tasks.

Let’s explore and consider the purpose and use of estimates in the management of software development efforts.

There are a number of things to explore. For example, do we really need estimates for everything we currently use them for? Are we getting a reasonable benefit from them? Is it possible to manage software development without them?

We will start with an information gathering exercise to help us gain a shared understanding of our the purpose and use of estimates. From here we'll move on to examine the nature of software development projects and a few possible other ways to approach our work.

What you will learn:

  • What an estimate is, why we use them.
  • The issues with estimates, and why we need a new approach.
  • Ways to explore possible alternatives to estimates
  • How I've been working without estimates.
  • How others have been working without estimates.
  • How to start working without estimates, or to reduce your dependency on them.

Who should attend:

Managers, Product Owners, Project managers, Agile coaches, Developers, and anyone involved in Software Development. Having some experience with planning and estimating software development will be useful.


  • Introduction to the concept of estimates.
  • Exercises to demonstrate the nature of estimates.
  • Interactive discussion about how we use estimates.
  • Information gathering sessions to build a common understanding.
  • Exploration of how people work without estimates