This has happens to all of us. You come in to work and turn on your computer. You open up your email to see what number of unread emails awaits you. Once you have managed to find you way through emails, you check your calendar. First thought that comes to mind, is wow, a fun packed day of back to back meetings. They don’t overlap so everything should be ok. Turns out it’s not ok because you are 5-10 mins late for every meeting. How can that be? Two meetings ran late because other people came late so the meetings started late. One meeting ran late because there was no solid meeting agenda and the meeting just kept going. All the other meetings ran their full length but you don’t get to snap your fingers and arrive at the next meeting 2 floors down or on the other side of the building.
Estimating work in hours is just like having back to back to back to back meetings. There is no time to breathe. No consideration for context switching. No room for any adjustments. Especially no consideration for walking time to get to the next meeting. On paper it looks perfect, but at the end of the day things were a blur and you were late to meetings. At the end of the day you let the clock dictate what you schedule looks like and not what you think is the best.
Teams work in similar ways, when pushed for perfection on paper things don’t result the way you would think. That’s why you should keep things simple and easy to reference. Although it may be seen as a simple tactic, when teams buy into the goal and tell you what they can accomplish, it certainly has better outcomes in general. Check out our latest episode about how hours in estimating aren’t as beneficial as you would think.