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Estimation as politics
Games - a life experience
The apparent inability of I.T. people to accurately estimate the effort, time and cost of I.T. projects has remained an insolvable problem. In interview after interview with business people, our group has found that poor estimation is one of the major factors in the breakdown of relationships between I.T. people and their clients.
In the past, the inaccurate estimates of I.T. people was seen more as a reflection of the newness of the industry and, as documented, a result of the power relationships between business clients and their I.T. service providers. In many organisations, I.T. people traditionally used their specialist power-base to dominate the relationship with their business clients. Indeed, many of the business people we interviewed had been blamed by their I.T. people for the poor I.T. estimates.
However, in the age of outsourcing and increased competition, the need for I.T. people to more accurately estimate the costs and time-frames for new product delivery has emerged as a critical survival factor for many I.T. groups.
Simply, poor estimates lead to a lack of credibility and poor business relationships. It is obvious that an internal I.T. group with low credibility has become a candidate for outsourcing.