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Subject:Re: Estimating time. From:Dick Miller <DICK_MILLER -at- HP-VANCOUVER-OM10 -dot- OM -dot- HP -dot- COM> Date:Fri, 31 Jan 1997 06:46:03 -0800
Your story reminds me of one of the major premises I used to teach when I
managed a project-management training function at Hughes Aircraft.
I used the analogy that any project is like a three-legged stool, the legs
being time, money, and scope. If you cut one of them short, you've got to
make appropriate reductions in the others to keep the stool balanced. While
it's not a perfect analogy, it served to help people realize that you can't
get something for nothing, (and, in fact, it's sometimes difficult to get
something for something). ;-)
At 10:53 AM 1/29/97 -0800, you wrote:
>In some respects it's a sad truth that few of us have
>the luxury of the time really needed to produce what
>we have to produce. We have deadlines driven by factors
>far afield from the writing process (e.g. market
>windows, customer expectations, sales' promises,
>development time, etc.). In order to make these imposed
>deadlines, we have to cut corners in our process. We
>all juggle the Big Three: cost, time, quality. The
>rule of thumb is that you can have the best of any
>two of them at one time, but never all three. For
>instance, you can have it in a short time, and be
>of high quality, but it will cost. Or, you can have
>it cheap and fast, but the quality won't be very
>good, and so on.
I was recently asked to to an estimate for a new manual for our company (I
am the lone tech writer, but I have many other projects than just our docs).
We are currently porting our mapping software from DOS to NT 4.0 - big jump,
no? Well, there were NO portions of the GUI ready before last week, and the
release is April 30. The manual is currently 300 pages. (We are also
including on-line help for the first time ever!) I tried to come up with
estimates based on "Industry Standards", halved them, and still came up with
times that kept me working until July. (I was also informed that since we
were WAY over budget on recent renovations, a contractor was completely out
of the question.) So I came back to the developers and said - "I'll work
until the release and get as much as possible done." A crappy situation, but
very real world.
Pacific International Mapping Corp.
gwatts -at- pim -dot- bc -dot- ca