Order of Magnitude = T-Shirt Sizing

I stumbled across this by Larry Osterman in Bloglines where he points out a curious entry in the project schedule for the next version of Windows. As Larry points out it is interesting terminology but its a really apt description for what the Order of Magnitude field in Scenario work items for the MSF Agile process template can be used for – it is certainly how I approach it. I have this theory that the more you try to refine the estimate the more chance you have of getting it terribly wrong. As time progresses you get a better feel for how accurate the estimate was and you can adjust your schedule accordingly.

Here’s to T-Shirt sizing (even if Larry doesn’t like the terminology :P).


5 thoughts on “Order of Magnitude = T-Shirt Sizing

  1. MikeFitz

    I like the idea of T-Shirt sizing. I’ve long used S, M, L (small, medium, large) for estimating each feature when quoting. Now, I’m definitely going to add XL & XXL to my repertoire. Missing these (or rather, incorrectly guessing “L”) is where problems have arisen in the past.

  2. jwashbur

    “the more you try to refine the estimate the more chance you have of getting it terribly wrong”

    Would you mind explaining this quote a bit more?

  3. Mitch Denny Post author

    Hi jwashbur,

    Well, the reason I say that is because people will think that they need to go into more detail when producing a more detailed estimate. Makes sense right? The problem is that the extra detail that they are digging up isn’t necessarily correct unless it is backed up by solid prototypes. A few extra rectangles in a powerpoint deck isn’t the kind of detail you can rely on.

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