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There is an important distinction between making an estimate on the spot based on reasonable expectations of the problem ,I am 90% confident I can have switch panel wired in 6 hrs. Verses, I have no clue and need to spend 3 hrs just analyzing the problem before estimating the difficulty.

I have been thinking about this a lot over the past months, most teams and projects fail because people get in over their head by

  * Not analyzing the problem deeply enough (hrs not weeks)
  * Estimating too early, they don't want to look weak
  * Not revising estimates once they are in it (heroic save)
  * Not asking for help or re-analysis from outside minds
On projects that went well, we put concerted effort into mitigating the above failure modes. Being wrong or not knowing is OK, being wrong or not knowing AND NOT fixing it is a huge problem. These issues don't come out of nowhere, there are precursors and warnings far in advance of emergency situations.

As a poster above mentioned, accepting a bullshit answer is being complicit in a lie. We need to push back in a polite way when we are being bullshitted. By accepting poor estimates (in all the dimensions of poor) we enable failure.







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