The Need for Accurate Project Estimation

Consider a movie’s production schedule: individual contributors—a director, producers, actors, screenwriters, technicians—work at a variety of times, in different groups, in varied locations, to create all the pieces to be melded into a seamless whole. However, many movies are never completed because the chances for critical errors are many, and poor planning did not anticipate (or allow for recovery from) these mistakes.

 

Accuracy is also key when estimating new technical projects to avoid these industry statistics:

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The Cork-based Xanadu Consultancy, a provider of software development and consultancy services to companies in the online gaming sector, supports Matchbook.com, one of the world’s leading betting exchanges, processing 20 million real time transactions a day and handled $2.5 billion in betting volume in 2012. When the company decided to increase product quality and reduce time-to-market for software products, they needed more accurate project estimation.

 

Project Estimation Analysis

 

Referring to Mike Cohn, there are three commonly used methods for project planning and estimation:

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No matter the method used, accuracy is paramount.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles initiated a project to revamp their driver’s license and registration processes. Six years and $45 million dollars later, the project was cancelled. The British supermarket chain Sainsbury’s installed an automated fulfillment system at its distribution center for London and southeast England. Despite early claims of success, after two years it was abandoned at a loss of over $265 million dollars.

 

Accelerating Time-to-market with Project Estimation

With the main focus on product delivery, the Xanadu Consultancy’s development teams were lacking some general process structure on Agile and Scrum implementation. It negatively affected the quality of the development process and reduced time-to-market of the software products.

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Ciklum’s Process Consultants performed an on-site analysis of Xanadu’s current business processes and tools to identify a new project estimation approach for Xanadu’s Scrum teams. Then, Ciklum’s team conducted Agile coaching sessions for a pilot Scrum team including Story Point estimation training, Scrum LEGO modeling, and a project estimation workshop.

 

Tangible Results with Real-World Applications

Xanadu’s pilot Scrum team, which included members across all departments, was coached during an initial Sprint to increase productivity with improved application of Agile techniques on a daily basis. The successful results included the introduction of a new estimation approach, configured a toolkit to reflect estimation accuracy and make team progress visible throughout the company, and proved the value of Scrum methodologies in software development. Injection and improvements of Agile practices allow Xanadu be predictable in delivery and bring the value to users quicker.

 

Read here full case study for Xanadu Consultancy to find more information on the results achieved

 

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