While surfing about and reading a bit about task estimation, I stumbled on a couple of things in Wikipedia which gave me pause for thought – you could arguably dismiss them as baseless aphorisms, but for the qualifications of the sources.

The first 90 percent of the code accounts for the first 90 percent of the development time. The remaining 10 percent of the code accounts for the other 90 percent of the development time.

Tom Cargill, Bell Labs: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ninety-ninety_rule

Hofstadter’s Law: It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.


I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t try to estimate how long things will take in advance of doing them – but I’m prepared to accept these conclusions from much smarter people than me that it may not be in our collective best interests to punitively hold someone to the accuracy of those estimates.

(see also: Tversky/Kahnemann’s “Planning Fallacy” – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planning_fallacy)

* stemming from Douglas Adams’ famous quote on the subject of deadlines (https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Douglas_Adams)