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.”

[/snark]