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> But even with agile, you have to have some kind of idea how long an overall project might take, otherwise how do you even decide if a project is worth starting?

If each iteration is producing sufficient independent business value (e.g., not dependent on subsequent iterations), then you don't have to estimate the size of the "overall project" to determine if it is worth starting. That's actually a key part of the risk mitigation provided by agile/lean methods.

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