Trust is the crucial precondition for healthy cooperation between IT and the business. I’ve been discussing #NoEstimates quite a bit with various people since my post yesterday, and everywhere this approach works, there is high trust. This is something that IT builds over the years by delivering as promised. When you have that trust, you can spend less time on estimates.
A Hollywood instructor managed to create quite advanced and artful movies inside one of the major commercial studios. He was asked how he got away with it when every other instructor at that studio was grinding out bland standard fare. He explained that his secret was to start shooting at 8 am sharp every morning. When the producer showed up mid-morning, he could see that the first two scenes were already done and dusted, so he left the instructor alone to do his thing.
The origin story of #NoEstimates on Woody Zuill’s blog is very similar: The team started by proving they could provide the most desired value quickly, thus creating a seed of trust. But unfortunately, in many organizations, IT has a track record of over-promising and under-delivering, built up over many years. That’s why the business demands detailed estimates.
To do away with estimates, you first need to build trust.