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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Estimation technique for an Agile Development

In previous posts, we have discussed various methods of estimation such as lines of code and function point. These are typically used for most software projects. But when you consider a project of very short software duration(consider a project which last just a few weeks) and also where there can be changes in requirements during the timeline of the project, it is difficult to use the lines of code or function point method. In such cases, one of the possible estimation technique is called estimation for agile development.

In a typical agile project, requirements are captured as stories or user scenarios; a different estimation method can be used for such projects. Some of the steps that are to be followed in such an agile project are:

- The estimation of each of the user stories is done on a standalone basis. Suppose the overall project has ten different user stories, we would need to do, at the minimum ten separate rounds of estimation.

- Each user story is further sub-divided into functions and tasks. Typically, each task is a separate discrete engineering unit, the start and end of which can be tracked separately from other tasks.

- Each task is a lowest unit at which estimation is done; at the end of the activity all the tasks have estimates. The engineering team is thus expected to provide estimates for each individual tasks.

- All these estimates for a user story are sum to create the total estimate for each user story.

- At a higher level, the estimates of all the user stories are summed to create the overall estimate.

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