Estimates are not a commitment

There is much debate about estimates. I can see the necessity. What matters is the culture around them.

The issue is commitment. The world is VUCA: nobody can see inside the system, or have perfect knowledge, or see the future So a team shouldn’t be asked to commit to any form of estimate. It’s an educated guess.

It’s not a promise. It is not a failure when they don’t meet an estimate. You cannot assess teams on the accuracy of their estimates when they have limited control over whether they come true.

Today’s conventional expectations are unrealistic. Lots of business models bear little relation to reality.
Why do so many knowledge work contracts fail to come in on time and budget?
Why do so many service providers fail to meet SLA?
Just maybe there is something systemically delusional about how we agree on knowledge work….

Apart from the unreasonableness of holding someone to a number they guessed, it kills the estimating process. View a team’s variance negatively and you’ll never get a real estimate again.