How to Provide an Estimate [snark]

State an estimate as a probability distribution. For this meme: “I estimate an 80% probability of completing in less than 195 minutes and a 20% probability of completing in less than 175 minutes, but the absolute minimum is 170 minutes. I’ll provide an updated estimate in an hour or so. Do you want me to EMail you the assumptions and risk register?”

“Uhhhh … no.” [thinks: WTF did she just say?] “Uh, can you give me that as a single number?”

[stares for a four-count] “The mode was 182 minutes, at 6.3%. Which means there is a 93.7% probability that it won’t take 182 minutes.”

“OK. Yeah. Well, let me know when it’s finished.”


New Post at AITS: Status Reports News and Information

My latest article for AITS was published today: Status Reports: Separating Information from News.

Cartoon News ReadersIt’s important to think like a journalist when writing status reports: be clear, concise, and engage the reader by creating a narrative. Tell a story that the reader wants to finish. But not everything in your status report should be news—you also need to mix in information, showing trends and data in a digestible format. The goal should be to help your stakeholders have a better understanding of the work planned, completed, and in progress so they can make better decisions and help to champion the project.

As always, thanks for taking the time to read my stuff.

New Article at AITS: Using the RACI Matrix

AITSBloggingAllianceMy latest article for AITS was published today: Using the RACI Matrix to Maximize Project Accountability.

The RACI matrix is a commonly used tool to depict which project team roles are participating in each task, and at what level they participate: Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, or Informed. The article concludes with a short list of common variations

This month marks six years of blogging, and I expect to keep at it for some time to come. I’m always grateful for the feedback, so please let me know what topics you’d like me to write about. As always, thanks for taking the time to read my stuff.