How to leverage different Agile Estimation Techniques


to avoid uncertainties in a Project



By Gopinath Venu

California, USA


In any project, uncertainties are more during the beginning of the project . As the project moves along, there is more information that is available and we adjust the estimation as and when new information is available. This process is called Progressive elaboration.

Even Though we make adjustments on a regular basis , why do some projects cause inevitable delays, compromise on product qualities and incur costs.

There are three most important categories in understanding what we know and what we don’t know in a project at the initial stages.

  • What We Know. – We already have all the information that is necessary to estimate, and we are more comfortable and confident in the estimations.
  • Known-Unknowns. – We know about a large beast of work that is incoming, but we don’t know how that is going to disseminate. If that happens, we don’t know how to estimate but we know something is going to come into the project in the foreseeable future.
  • Unknown-Unknown – We cannot predict or prepare for the things that derail the project because we don’t know what is coming.

Some of the Projects in real world that led to cost overrun are:

  • The Boeing 787 Dreamliner

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is a commercial airliner that was first introduced in 2011. The development of the Dreamliner was plagued by delays and cost overruns. One of the main reasons for the delays was that Boeing underestimated the complexity of the project. The Dreamliner is the first commercial airliner to be made with a large amount of composite materials. These materials are more difficult to work with than traditional aluminum materials, which led to delays in the manufacturing process.

The Dreamliner project also incurred cost overruns due to a number of factors, such as the discovery of defects in the aircraft’s electrical system. These defects required Boeing to redesign and recertify the aircraft, which added to the project’s cost.

As a result of these factors, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner project was delayed by several years and incurred cost overruns of over $2 billion.

  • The London 2012 Olympic Games

The London 2012 Olympic Games were originally scheduled to cost $2.4 billion. However, the actual cost of the games was over $12 billion. This was due in part to inefficient project estimation. The original estimate for the games was based on outdated data and did not take into account the increasing cost of construction. As a result, the actual cost of the games far exceeded the original estimate.

Now, before getting into the different nuances in Agile Estimation techniques, let’s revisit some of the basics of Estimations.


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How to cite this article: Venu, G. (2023).  How to leverage different Agile Estimation Techniques to avoid uncertainties in a Project, PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue VIII, August.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/pmwj132-Aug2023-Venu-how-to-leverage-different-agile-estimating-techniques.pdf

About the Author

Gopinath Venu

Texas, USA


Gopinath Venu has about 19 Years of experience in the IT Industry. He is certified in PMP, PMI-ACP from Project Management Institute (PMI), SAFe Advanced Scrum Master Certification from Scaled Agile Institute. He also holds a certification in AWS as a Certified Practitioner and Azure Certified from Microsoft. He has done multiple roles such as Project Manager, QA Manager, Scrum Master in his career. He is an active member of International Toastmasters. He has presented papers in PM conferences organized by local chapters of PMI. He presented a paper on Agile in the 15th Annual PMI Symposium organized by PMI Dallas and The University of Texas at Dallas. He also contributes to articles and discussions on www.projectmanagement.com.