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Estimation Accuracy Chart
Estimation Accuracy Chart
How good is your team at estimating their time?
John Margaglione avatar
Written by John Margaglione
Updated over a week ago

Outlaw Practice tracks both estimated and actual time, which enables you to measure a critical metric: are you (and your employees) good at estimating how much effort it will take to complete their work?

There are two aspects of estimation that we are interested in:

  1. The average (overall) estimation of time. For example, over the past month, on average, are my employees over- or under-estimating their effort? A good metric is to keep the average +/- 20%.

  2. The variance of time estimates. A good estimator will not only have good accuracy overall, but good accuracy on each task. For example, if the average estimation error is 0, but each individual estimation is off by 100%, then although the average looks good, the variance on any given day could be double what was estimated!

We want to keep both of these numbers low. Take a look at the samples below:

In this case, we have an employee that is doing a great job, on average, of estimating their time. However, they are at +/- 80% on individual tasks. This means that although in the long run they will be spot on, on any given day they may take 10 hours to do 6 planned hours of work!

Now let's look at an employee that has a high average, but low variance. Here we have a very high average of +86%, which means that the employee tends to seriously over-estimate how much time any given task will take. This is likely a new employee, unused to their job, and giving themselves plenty of time to get things done. Luckily, they variance is only +/- 20%, which is very good. We can easily predict that this employee will do their work in half the time estimated, so we just need them to take whatever time they have estimated, and cut it in half.

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