How can software development estimates be soooo wrong

Jul 11

I was recently talking to a potential new partner. They've got load of experience building website, they're primarily a .NET company and were interested in partnering with us for PHP based websites. Not being a developer himself (oooo that sounds condescending doesn't it - sorry!) the guy I was talking to was expressing his (quite rightful) frustration about how so often the estimates his developers give him can be massively wrong....he cited one instance where an estimate of 2 days turned into 2 weeks!

He found it outstanding that people who did the stuff all day (and all night sometimes) could be so wrong. I've been there before myself plenty of times when people I've managed just got it completely wrong and I'm stuck sorting the mess and it is proper irritating, never mind impossible to make any money out of.

Now I should say that generally at tappetyclick we pride ourselves in getting this stuff right - I can't think of any project where I've genuinely got it wrong. Personally I'd rather over estimate and be under budget than go back to a customer with my hand out, no-one likes that. But we've all be surprised occasionally by un-expected "uh-oh's" in a project and I recently stumbled across this little bit of comedic writing on twitter and I thought it described it so well it was worth re-posting: 

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