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A Case Study for Relative Complexity Estimating

In software development, accurate estimation is crucial for project planning, resource allocation, and meeting deadlines. On the other hand, textbook agile methodologies promote flexibility, adaptability, and continuous iteration. Over the years I’ve heard many agile practitioners attempt to refuse to give stakeholders a date by which they will aim to be “finished”, claiming that it is “not agile”. Obviously, this stand-off isn’t sustainable, because outside of the agile environment there is an entire other set of stakeholders and constraints that need to be satisfied. Those people who need to plan marketing campaigns around a new product, submit a budget for capital expenditure where developer time is being capitalised, or even just to know when a development team might become available to work on something else all have valid and important reasons why some form of commitment to a date is necessary. So, the challenge is to find an approach that incorporates Agile principles for software development, while also incorporating up-front estimating and declaring a target date or time period, so that development teams can strike a balance between flexibility and giving their customer some certainty around when they’ll get something of value.

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