On “5 Minute” Bug Fixes and Project Time Estimates [link]

A calendar month notecardThis isn’t a double rainbow, t’s a double link post! Less beautiful. More interesting.

Take 10 or 15 minutes to read through these two short and fun posts about time estimates when it comes to projects. Both use great metaphors—a leaky sink and walking from San Francisco to Los Angeles—and are great food for thought on a topic that bedevils anyone who has to set deadlines and estimate delivery dates.


This first article sets out to help non-technical clients understand why us developers sometimes give bad estimates.

I’ve got a simple analogy for you as to why some (many) things take longer to develop than developers initially estimate and, more importantly, why we perpetually believe it will only be “just 5 more minutes” as we continue to debug.

Read “Fixing Bugs -or- Why 5 minutes Sometimes Means 2 hours” on Ramblings from a Nobody


The second link takes you to a funny story of a person estimating how long a walk will. Surprisingly published on the Q&A site Quora by user Michael Wolfe, it’s well worth the read! Complications arise during a project, they affect the timing of delivery, and we should probably expect a few more mishaps than we normally do.

We get up early the next day giddy with the excitement of fresh adventure.  We strap on our backpacks, whip out our map, and plan our first day. We look at the map. Uh oh:

(There are some bad words in the story but nothing I thought was offensive.)

Read “Why are software development task estimations regularly off by a factor of 2-3?” on Quora

Image courtesy Joe Lanman on Flickr.

2 thoughts on “On “5 Minute” Bug Fixes and Project Time Estimates [link]”

  1. These are both great and very true. My favorite manager question has been, “And you’re sure that this estimate and steps will solve all the problems?” No, I can’t guarantee that, especially on a massive site (they’re files total to almost 18 gigs) on which updates hadn’t been performed since the very early days of D7 (1-2 years ago?).

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