Does NoEstimates mean NoPlan?

June 13, 2022
#NoEstimates isn't about not planning. It's about finding smarter ways to plan.

The #NoEstimates hash-tag gets a lot of attention, including a lot of negative attention, on social media.

I contend that most of the negative attention comes from a misunderstanding of the hashtag.

Take for example, a claim I read last week:

No Estimates is a group of agilists who don’t believe in estimating or planning their work.

Whoa!

Now I’ll agree that the “No Estimates” moniker is a bit confusing and misleading. “Fewer Estimates” or “Smarter Etimates” might be a better name, but I didn’t name it, and I don’t get to re-name it.

But where did this idea of “no planning” come from? I’m honestly not sure. But I can assure you, it did not come from #NoEstimates. Let’s consider the sub-title of the authoritative book on the subject: No Estimates: How to Measure Project Progress Without Estimating.

Not exactly a smoking gun, but measuring progress sure sounds like there’s a plan involved. But if we dig in, we see that #NoEstimates, both the hashtag, and the book, are really about finding smarter ways of planning that don’t involve laborious estimations. In particular, the book explains how to use forecasts in place of estimates when making plans.

Now, if we squint hard enough, I can see a way in which #NoEstimates might be taken as #NoPlanning, and that is that #NoEstimates, as a member of the “Agile Thought Family” discourages long-term planning. But that’s not at all unique to #NoEstimates, anyway.

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