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The trap of averages. How to avoid it in software development estimates

IT- & Project Management | Vortrag | 30 min | Englisch


The next piece of software is to be developed as quickly as possible by two teams and they now have to answer how long it’s going to take. Team A says 5-8 months and Team B 6-9 months. But the department head is under pressure to give a date. He decides to simply take 7 months as the average of the two teams and so the rest of the project plan ends up based on averages. Basing on the book “The Flaw of Averages,” I will explain why average-based plans fail on average. I will take a look at the psychological problems that we humans have in dealing with probabilities as a possible reason why we keep falling into the averages trap. Finally, coming from the experiences gathered by two of the teams in my department, I will show a concrete alternative to avoid this trap at least when it comes to software development estimates.

Daiany Palacios

Kühne + Nagel AG

I work at Kuehne + Nagel for the KN FreightNet project in Hamburg since 2011. Originally from Venezuela, I joined the company as a software developer but now work also as a requirements engineer, collaborating as well with the agile-coaching team with Retrospectives-moderation. Agile by nature, I consider fostering collaboration and communication in my team a key part of my work. I am passionate about continuous improvement and about always trying to find ways to optimize the team’s results in order to deliver as promised.


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