Estimates

Clean Code, Episode 44

By Robert C. Martin

59 minNov 2016

Estimates. Oh no, not Estimates!

Yes, it's estimates. We're going to talk about estimates. We're going to talk about what estimates really are, and how to create them.

We're going to talk about the fact that estimates need to be honest, accurate, and precise. And we're going to define those terms.

We'll learn how to properly find, and specify, an accurate estimate. We'll also spend a lot of time understanding what it means for an estimate to be precise. And we will stress, over and over, that the most essential quality of an estimate is honesty.

During parts of this lesson we'll get really techie and mathy. We'll study the statistical tools from PERT that can be applied to estimates. I'll walk you through the math. I believe you'll find it both fascinating and useful.

But in the end, whether you use the math or not, whether you follow the techniques and procedures I recommend or not, the real lesson of this episode is about honesty. And how to present, with appropriate accuracy and precision, the most honest of all estimates:

"I don't know."