It’s important, that when you need to fix estimates in a team, most probably the root cause lies in management. Estimates are estimates, but this is hard to understand for managers. So, the most important part is to acknowledge that even if estimates get better, the work won’t be done faster.
If that step has reached, based on my experience it works pretty good to use points and fixed length iterations. Once team (and it should alway estimate the whole team) has a good common sense on how many points for a comparable task, you just change the meaning of what a point is, based on how many points have been successfully delivered in the iteration. You dont‘t try to improve the estimations itself.
There will still be times where you will still need a week longer than planned. But that’s the way it is.
Ah, and breaking something up in subtasks can help, but it’s not worth to do that upfront if it’s not clear that the task will be done at all. In that case, simple team complexity estimation is sufficient.
I particularly like the part about even if estimates get better, the work won't be done faster, I'll have to use that next time when I'm trying to blame the bad code for me taking so long😄
Maybe you have to work on your communication, too. If it’s late, than only because we need to meet our company’s quality goals. 😉
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