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Manuele J Sarfatti
Manuele J Sarfatti

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Fellow freelancers, is any of you successful at estimates?

I'm talking about time estimates.

I just got off the phone with a client who (with extreme kindness) made me notice how I am quite consistent at giving overly optimistic deadlines.

I've been doing this job for 10 years and apparently no matter how hard I try to fix my calculations I keep failing.

Has any of you mastered the game? Any tips to spare? πŸ™

Discussion (5)

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luscala profile image
Luca Scala • Edited on

If you are overstimating, track the amount of time you’re not taking in consideration and add it the next time. It’s called positive feedback. You’ll adjust your estimations in a very small amount of time.

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mjsarfatti profile image
Manuele J Sarfatti Author

I have been tracking time and it has somewhat helped. What I'm finding hard is that every project is so different from the previous ones. I can use my tracked time to estimate about 20% of the features of a new project, but the rest are things I've never encountered before.

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practicingdev profile image
Practicing Developer

For the most part I don't do estimates at any level of granularity with clients anymore, instead favoring establishing a budget and then simply working from a prioritized list and doing the best I can with the allotted time.

Working in the smallest possible cycles helps ensure that any failure doesn't create too many headaches, and gives us plenty of room to change directions if something seems to be taking too long or isn't a good bet.

That said, there is a really good article from a few years ago about software estimation from Dropbox which you may find useful:

blogs.dropbox.com/tech/2015/10/wha...

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mjsarfatti profile image
Manuele J Sarfatti Author

This is a really good alternative for clients who don't want to pay per-hour. Fixed budget but flexible feature list.

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amandaeducative profile image
Amanda Fawcett

I wrote an article about managing time estimations that might help you out. You can take a look here