Software Estimation

With Steve McConnell

Learn many useful rules of thumb and procedures for creating software estimates.

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This course provides many useful rules of thumb and procedures for creating software estimates (“the art of estimation”) and briefly introduces mathematical approaches to creating software project estimates (“the science of estimation”). This course features extensive lab work to give you hands-on experience creating many different kinds of software estimates–for large, medium, and small projects as well as calibrating estimates to be accurate for your specific development environment. You will learn techniques for making sure estimation is treated as an analytical rather than a political process, and you will explore how to negotiate effectively with other project stakeholders (such as marketing, management and your clients) so that everyone wins. This online class is based on the best-selling book, Software Estimation: Demystifying the Black Art, by Steve McConnell.

Highlights from the Course

  • Common Sources of Estimation Error
  • Key Concept: The Cone of Uncertainty
  • Good and Bad Estimation Processes
  • Estimation Error
  • Strengths and Weaknesses of Popular Estimation Methods
  • Better Estimation Methods
  • The Critical Role of Historical Data
  • Using Judgment-Based Estimation Effectively
  • Issues in Scope Estimation
  • Issues in Effort Estimation
  • Issues in Schedule Estimation
  • Estimation on Agile Projects
  • Estimation in the Larger Organizational Context

Related Courses

Agile Planning & Estimation, Code Complete Essentials, Understanding Software Projects

Resources: Workbook, quizzes, LAB activities
Duration: 9h 10m

Steve McConnell

Your instructor
Steve McConnell
Construx CEO / Author of Code Complete


All Resources


Course Introduction
Estimation Foundations
Why Accurate Estimates Matter
The Cone of Uncertainty
What is an Estimate?
What is a “Good” Estimate?
Managing Estimation in the Wide End of the Cone
Feature Staircase & T-Shirt Sizing
LAB: T-Shirt Sizing
Estimation Using Simple Math
Counting, Computing, Judgement
Calibration and Historical Data
Estimation by Analogy
Standard Components
Estimation Using Judgement
Improving Judgement
Improving Task Level Estimates
Suggestions for Task-Level Estimates
Basic Decomposition
Basic Decomposition
Wide-Band Delphi
Scrum Estimation
Long-Range Estimation in Scrum
Story Points
Velocity and Burn Down Charts
Estimation Using Deeper Math
Estimating Schedule
Estimate Evaluation and Refinement
Determining Estimation Error
Building Your Own Cone of Uncertainty
Standardized Estimation Procedure
Course Wrap-Up

Construx OnDemand: Empowering these software teams