Agile Estimations Complexity Vs Time Taken

Estimations – It’s a day in day out issue that we actually hear, witness, tackle and retrospect. One of the, must be challenges that every team faces before delivery. Estimating right is crucial for efficient launches – Criticality varies with the domains that we work in for e.g. E-commerce, Banking, Health domain etc.


First and foremost, node of the tree, before anything starts, may be the Software life cycle or Day-to-day life cycle.

What is Planning?

It’s a forethought and organizing the activities required to achieve a desired goal.

Why Plan?

  • Want to get the work done systematically
  • Discovering Priority Vs Urgency
  • COs – (Co-ordination and Collaboration b/w Stake Holders and People)
  • Risk analysis

How much to plan?

Too little planning exhibits a lack of interest, focus and experience

Too much planning does not guarantee results due to unseen facts and hence success rate is not measurable.

Adequate planning is a must and Agile methodology recommends short term planning – for a duration of two/three weeks as it is easy to forecast, time taken is less and can be scrapped out with no much guilt and loss.

Planning Involved in Agile

  • Product Planning – Backlogs
  • Release Planning – Release Trains
  • Iteration Planning – Sprint Planning
  • Daily Planning – Daily Stand up 


What is Estimation?

Rough Guess or calculation in the form of value, numbers or quantity of metrics to deliver the task.

What to Estimate?

Depending upon the years of experience and the job role, Each designation is responsible for their respective estimates across different genres.

Confining to roles of Quality Engineer, we tend to estimate more on Time frames. Over a survey, realized most of us tend to estimate keeping time as the main factor. We give out estimates in hours to complete a task without considering the complexity and skill required.

Challenges in estimations

  • Lack of questions/clarity/requirement
  • Changing Requirements
  • Volatility
  • Dependencies
  • Unknown Facts
  • Planning exceeds Execution
  • Functional Vs Non-functional
  • Test Data

Some Simple Hacks
1.Divide the whole project task into subtasks

   Work Breakdown Technique

Real time work flow breakdown

2.Allocate each task to team member


3. Effort Estimation for Tasks

   For Eg:

Group Weightage
Complex 5
Medium 3
Simple 1


Estimate duration for the task


  • Total Effort: The effort to completely test all the functions of the website
  • Total Function Points: Total modules of the website
  • Estimate defined per Function Points: The average effort to complete one function points. This value depends on the productivity of the member who will take in charge this task.

Suppose your project team has estimated defined per Function Points of 5 hours/points

Test Estimation Best Practices

  • Add some buffer time
  • Account Resource planning in estimation
  • Use the past experience as reference
  • Stick to your estimation

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