What is the Kanban Estimate? Learn How to Create Accurate Estimates with This Method
The Kanban estimate has two main purposes. First, it provides you with an idea of how long each task might take to complete. This allows you to plan projects better and avoid unexpected delays or issues later on. Secondly, the information is very valuable for tackling bigger projects like designing a website or app. It helps business owners understand what they should be expecting at each stage of development so that changes can be made before things get too complicated or expensive.
The goal of Kanban Estimate is simple; to provide estimates based on actual time spent instead of educated guesses (or ‘guesstimates’). It’s estimated that software engineers typically spend up to 40% of their time on tasks that have already been completed. This makes it much harder to track their productivity, especially when work is being completed off-site or remotely.
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Kanban Estimate also shows how long it really takes for tasks to progress through the various stages. For instance, a ‘To Do’ task might take 3 days before it enters the ‘Doing’ phase, where you actually start working on the project.
Finally, #KanbanEstimate provides transparency into your own estimation abilities. You can measure how well (or not) you’ve estimated past projects; whether these were big or small; and if your accuracy changes depending on what type of project you’re estimating. By keeping track of this information, you can work to improve your estimation skills. You might even find that Kanban Estimate is a great alternative to #StoryPoints , which are also used for creating estimates.
What Are the Benefits of Kanban Estimates?
There are many benefits of using Kanban Estimates over Story Points . Here are just some of them:
- Reduces team stress : When developers know exactly how long it will take them to complete their tasks, they spend less time worrying about how much work they have. This makes it easier for them to simply focus on getting things done.
- Prevents project failures : Estimates help you make informed decisions based on what you’ve learned from past experiences with similar projects. If you think a project will take 8 months and you then discover that other projects took longer, it’s time to rethink your strategy.
- Keep client or customer expectations in check : If estimates are being provided by many people working on the same project, everyone is aware of how long things are taking.
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This prevents clients from expecting unrealistic delivery times. It also helps them set their own deadlines so they don’t miss out on opportunities elsewhere.
- Improves planning abilities : You can measure your ability to estimate tasks based on past experiences. Are you better at estimating big picture projects? Or perhaps smaller ones are your strong suit? The information provided by #KanbanEstimate lets you know where you need to improve and gives you a chance to work on those areas.
- Promotes process improvement : Once you’ve collected data about your performance with previous estimates, you can look for the root causes of any issues (such as inaccurate estimates). Perhaps you need to change how you work; or maybe it’s due to changes in technology or methodology. By identifying problems quickly, you can make adjustments before they become too problematic. For example, if you know that certain project types are taking people longer to complete than others, then perhaps more time should be allocated for those projects.
Why Is Kanban Estimated Better Than Story Points?
There are several reasons why #KanbanEstimate is better than using story points . Here are just a few:
- It’s easier : Using story points requires putting a number on everything. This quickly gets complicated and you’ll probably end up spending more time measuring your estimates instead of actually doing work. #KanbanEstimate is much simpler, which means it’s faster to set up, less likely to cause problems, and can be improved upon over time.
- It’s more flexible : How many times have you had issues with Story Points? Perhaps members of your team were working remotely or you didn’t quite agree on the size of a task so someone got more points than they deserved (or less). Kanban Estimates doesn’t require members of your team to guess what type of work is being done so there’s no risk that someone puts an incorrect estimate on a task. It’s also easier to make changes and re-estimate tasks since everyone involved with the project is aware of how long it takes to complete tasks.
- It scales better : Story points rely on Fibonacci sequences which get increasingly difficult to remember, especially once you go beyond Level 3 or 4 (which many teams never do). Additionally, Fibonacci sequences don’t work well when figuring out team velocity. #KanbanEstimate is always based on the smallest unit of time possible: hours and minutes. This makes it much easier for people who are used to working on deadlines that involve days or weeks.
- You can use it with other estimation techniques : #KanbanEstimate is a simple and flexible alternative to Story Points, but it works well in combination with existing estimation methods. If you’re already using a system like Wideband Delphi, Planning Poker, or Wideband Stadia then you can simply use estimates that are within the same range (for example, if someone on your team says that something will take 3-5 days, this would correspond to 5 -10 story points).
- It’s more realistic : When working on software development projects, most tasks end up taking longer than expected. This happens for several reasons (including scope creep or underestimating how long testing will take), which means that some people end up feeling like they are always getting behind .
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The combination of story points and Fibonacci sequences means that they will probably be under-estimating their velocity, which means you’ll have unrealistic expectations about how much work can get done. Using #KanbanEstimate ensures that everyone has a more realistic idea of the amount of time it takes to complete tasks so you’re less likely to have these types of problems.
- It’s not just for software development : Story Points are very common in Agile/Scrum circles because there is a strong focus on software development projects. But teams often find out pretty quickly that they need to do other types of work as well (such as preparing decks, writing documentation, creating sales materials, or performing training). Since #KanbanEstimate is based on hours and minutes, it works well with any type of project.
- It’s easier to explain : When you use story points, your team will spend a lot of time trying to figure out what these numbers actually mean and why they were chosen. This can be frustrating for people who aren’t used to working in Scrum/Agile environments and just want something that makes sense. #KanbanEstimate lets you move beyond the question of “What is this number?” so that you can focus on getting work done instead of worrying about why someone put an estimate on a task.
- Estimation games are not fun : If there’s one thing I’ve heard from software developers it’s that estimation games are not fun. Story points usually rely on some type of estimation game like Planning Poker or Wideband Delphi, and I’ve yet to meet a developer who likes these. You can avoid this frustration by using #KanbanEstimate which doesn’t require any games.