Estimate Distrust Between Leaders And Programmers

Estimate

In many organizations, there is estimate mistrust between the leaders and the programmers. The level of mistrust varies from organization to organization. The mistrust is in the area of work time estimates.

Leaders and programmers are different kinds of individuals. They have different set of knowledge bases to rely on, and as such, they must trust in each other’s assessments. For example, leaders are often non-technical people, and they must rely on the technical workers to provide them with time estimates for the programming tasks. Since programming often takes a large amount of time to accomplish basic functions, to a non-programmer, some of the time estimates can seem suspiciously long. Many leaders, who receive work time estimates, don’t always believe in their authenticity. Many leaders assume that the estimates are padded with extra time, and proceed to cut the time available to the programmers anywhere from 10% to 50%. The programmers know that this risk exists, that they will get less time to accomplish the work than they ask for, so many proceed to pad their time estimates with extra time. This time of mistrust can lead to tension between the leaders and the programmers.

Conversely, a situation can arise where instead of distrust; there is too much trust. Imagine if a programmer figures out how to use pre built libraries and templates to accomplish work very quickly, but instead of communicating the time savings achieved, the programmer provides a very long time estimate for the work. If the leaders trust that programmer, they are likely to go along with the estimate. This would lead to a waste of organizational resources. Since managers don’t know how to program, many will defer the work time estimate function to the programmer. This reliance could result in an inaccurate estimate. When it comes to other types of roles, such as the requirements analyst role, the managers are more rigid with the time estimates. This is because the managers assume that they understand the kind of work which a requirements analyst does, and as such, have a way to double check the estimates. Expectations of how long a piece of work will take to get done can occur when a manager has some idea of the nature of that work.

In order to avoid issues of distrust within the organization, the project manager can attempt to create a common understanding of each other’s roles within the organization. Individuals involved with the project need to have a common view, perspective and understanding. For example, a project manager can arrange for another manager or a stakeholder to see an estimation session. By seeing the scientific approach that a team uses to arrive at an estimate of work, the team is pressured to achieve an accurate estimate in the process and trust is re-enforced among the parties concerned.

 

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A Manager's Guide - Work Responsibilities And Psychology