barcode reader sdk vb.net PART THREE Skills and Tools in Software

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PART THREE Skills and Tools
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Principles of Estimation
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There are many methods of estimation, and they can each be valuable if certain key principles are followed in preparing the estimate. Estimation is an engineering art, not a precise science. It seeks to answer the questions: How long will this project take What will it cost The most important errors to avoid are those that introduce bias, that is, push the result in a particular direction but away from reality.     Wishful thinking, where you try to make an estimate t into an imposed deadline or budget. Resentful thinking, where you set out to prove that the imposed deadline or budget is impossible. Estimating the entire project as a unit without thinking out the details. Simply copying the estimate from a past, similar project.
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These errors most often arise out of frustration, when we do not know how to or are not given the time to prepare a high-quality estimate. We can avoid most errors through these simple steps:   Receive the customer s required or desired time and budget statements. Note them as imposed gures, and then completely set them aside. Do not start asking the wrong question: Can we deliver by this date Estimate the project time and cost using the methods described below. We can focus on making an accurate estimate, because we know that, if it does not match the imposed requirements, we resolve that in the next step, not while we are estimating. If there is a gap between the estimate and the imposed dates, negotiate the gap. We o er several cooperative approaches for doing this. If the gap cannot be negotiated, recommend canceling the project. If the gap is negotiated, update the project overview and other project documents, and proceed to the approval process.
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Early Time Estimation
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We need several di erent methods of time estimation to use at di erent stages of the project. The most accurate methods, PERT and CPM, are described at the end of this chapter because they only work after we have completed the
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CHAPTER 10 Planning and Estimation
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work breakdown structure. Earlier, in the concept and analysis stages, we can use informal methods based on experience, a modi cation of the Wide-Band Delphi method, or estimation from requirements.
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ESTIMATION TECHNIQUES BASED ON EXPERIENCE
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Each of us probably already has some more-or-less conscious method of quick estimation. I tend to create a quick work breakdown structure, a simple to-do list, and estimate by adding up times from the detailed items. Someone else might do a quick estimation of units of work multiplied by e ort. Someone else might list the stages, and compare to time and cost of similar past projects. All of these quick techniques have their aws. The more thoroughly developed methods presented below are better. But we can use these methods when we need them, and there are some ways of getting better results. One key to success of any of these methods is to cross-check against one or more other methods. Did you include all major components All stages The cost of changes The rework necessary during testing Another key is simply to write down your thoughts, set them aside, then read them again later, or show them to someone else if you can. Revise before doing your calculations. If your organization tracks e ort on past projects, you can estimate phases or milestones in comparison to similar past projects. It is better to do this by stage or by deliverable, and to draw from several di erent projects if you can. Be sure to use actual results, and not estimates from past projects. Also, when looking at a set of past projects, make adjustments based on intelligent questions, such as:  Is the deliverable exactly the same, simpler, or more complicated  Is the customer more or less demanding than the customer on the past project  Are there any costly errors we will avoid this time  What are the important di erences between the initial situation this time and the initial situation last time  Does the person doing the work now have more or less experience Any estimation method that avoids bias and asks these intelligent questions is a good start. If you review your assumptions and use two such methods, you are likely to get even better results. Now, let us take a look two more sophisticated methods of early time estimation.
PART THREE Skills and Tools USING A MODIFICATION OF THE WIDE-BAND DELPHI METHOD FOR TIME AND COST ESTIMATION
One of the methods, a modi cation of the Wide-Band Delphi technique, can be used to create a quick scope statement and estimate of value. It works for time, cost, risk, and other areas of concern on our project. Delphi sessions are expensive, as they require a team of experts. Table 10-2 gives a procedure for this modi cation of the Delphi approach.
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