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Rapid Development: Taming Wild Software Schedules by Steve McConnell

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Estimate Refinement

One question that managers and customers ask is, "If I give you another week to work on your estimate, can you refine it so that it contains less uncertainty?" That's a reasonable request, but unfortunately it's not possible to act on it the way you'd like to. Research by Luiz Laranjeira suggests that the accuracy of the software estimate depends on the level of refinement of the software's definition (Laranjeira 1990). The more refined the definition, the more accurate the estimate. This makes sense intuitively because the more the system is nailed down, the less uncertainty feeds into the estimate.

The implication of Laranjeira's research is that the work you have to do to refine the software definition is the work of the ...

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