(Emphasis on For Developers)
BLUF: the simple idea here is that it’s quite easy to project your aggregated Remaining Duration estimates into a quickie calendar date.
- capture a list of rational tasks – do an initial break down by individual screen if you don’t have something else in mind… a little sub-task depth is good but don’t go too deep at first… in typical software architecture, program functions and/or database objects are good candidates.
- then spend a little time throwing out a rough estimate for each task… don’t get too hung up on accuracy here
- leverage the out of body experience by pretending you’re not the guy that’s gotta do all this work
- it can be sorta fun in a twisted way and a surprisingly worthwhile organizational moment if you’re lighthearted about it
- fully expand your outline (Project > Outline > Show > All Subtasks)
- select all your tasks from top to bottom…
- and link them together (Edit > Link Tasks [Ctrl+F2])
- in the normal task grid, make sure you have the columns: Duration, % Completion and Remaining Duration (right click a column header > Insert Column)
- fill out the % Completion numbers as best you can
- as you’re doing so, the Remaining Duration for each task will go down accordingly
- use sub-task nesting to create a task nodes with automatically summed Remaining Duration totals which represent your Milestones du jour
- and then use Business Day Calculator > Add Business Days to project some quick and dirty milestone completion dates to talk to
- to me this approach can give you something reasonably concrete to talk to in an hour
- there becomes some “safety in numbers” here… it’s harder for someone to throw out the timeline w/o somehow acknowledging the existing one
- you can print out your task list and a pretty Gantt chart for a little more razzle dazzle than empty hand waving
- you can back yourself up at the next review by working the old estimates to correspond with actuals
- The different kinds of Percent Complete
- % Complete – deals with time
- % Work Complete – deals with man-hours
- % Physical Complete – deals with physical progress (link) … in Development land “physical” of course gets very abstract and therefore makes it fun deciding where to draw the line on what is the smallest “thing” be a trackable task – but for example: screens, stored procedures, classes are granular enough “physical” things typical worthy of tracking completion.