Estimation Games of Software Development

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.


30 plus years of commercial computing has developed a series of sophisticated political games that have become a replacement for estimation as a formal process. More importantly, like all good games they are passed on from generation to generation by "children" I.T. people learning from "adult"managers who of course learnt the games from their adults when they were children and so on.

Following are the most well-known and practised of the basic game set:

  • Doubling and add some
  • Reverse Doubling Option
  • The Price is Right/Guess the number I'm thinking of
  • Double Dummy Spit
  • The X Plus Game
  • Spanish Inquisition
  • Low Bid/What are they prepared to pay
  • Gotcha/Playing the Pokies
  • Smoke & Mirrors/Blinding with science
  • False Precision