Ancient Wisdom for Software Estimating

There is a lot of ancient wisdom that is useful for software development. Some of the wisdom comes from the West and some from the East. One of the most interesting parables can be found in the Christian New Testament. Jesus was addressing a crowd of onlookers and told this story. The story can be found in Luke and it reads, “Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion? Otherwise, after laying the foundation and finding himself unable to finish the work the onlookers should laugh at him and say, ‘This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish’. Luke 14:25-33

Too many software projects start without a clear understanding of the functionality of the project  or total project costs. The project sponsor marches his or her team straight down the path of project disaster. They ignore all the warning signs. The problem is that they did not know the amount of resources needed to finish the project in the first place. They did not fully understand the total cost or total effort.

Too many software developers do not know how tall the tower is going to be  or how much functionality is required.  In the end failing to understand total project cost and effort is not a new idea. It is just an accepted practice in the field of software development and especially in software estimating.

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hey….very interesting post.

    But planning for a project is about more than dates and cost estimates. It’s about finding the best balance between preparation and perspiration. Between the needs of the business or project, and the reality of software development.

    • True project planning is much more than costs and dates. The problem with too many software projects is the desire to move forward without a clear understanding of project direction. It is a figure it out as you go software development. You are right that it is important to find some balance.

      As I write in my book Reboot!, too many software developers know little or nothing about the core business. It is hard to find balance when a developer knows little about the business.


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