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Almighty Estimation

By Arlene MinkiewiczMay 18, 2020

I have to say that my foray into blogging has been an interesting one. By definition, the Chief Scientist should be a nerdy sort of geek too high brow to pontificate on topics in such a pedestrian format. Actually, I kind of like it. In part because I enjoy writing and I’m not picky about what I write – technical documents are OK but pontification works as well. And in part because I know that in order to be a good writer in a particular genre one must read extensively from that genre. In other words, I now have a good excuse to surf the web for related blogs and have found great ideas that have fueled my imagination.

Today I want to share an article I found on ‘Quips On Software Development’ by David Longstreet called “Ancient Wisdom for Software Estimating”. In it Longstreet traces the need for good estimating all the way back to the Bible. From Luke 14:25-33 Jesus says to the crowd of discipleship “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'”

Of course, this was posted on April 1st, so my first thought was of practical jokes. After thinking about how cool it would be to get this kind of powerful buy-in on the importance of estimating I figured I would check it out. So, I powered up another browser and went to Bible.com (who knew!). Sure enough it was the real deal.

So, what’s my point here? Regardless of your religious beliefs – it seems prophetic that a document representing life and times more than 2000 years ago recognizes the importance of estimation and resource management. And further acknowledges the fact that people will notice if you say you’re going to do something and then don’t finish it because you’ve run out of time or money. Even before there were machines or factories, computers or software; before the words process improvement had ever been uttered – people understood that estimation was important when embarking on a project.

The next time you think about starting a project with a WAG (Wild A** Guess) or with the number your boss wants to hear – first stop and ask yourself… “What Would Jesus Do?”