Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Think of a number

There is an extremely high probability that the statement "Think if a number" got me in to this mess ...

... let me explain; allegedly Tigger and I are trained to understand a set of requirements and then compile sets of estimates that will cover the costs of meeting those requirements. We do lots of other things too but the previous statement is a fairly accurate description of the job basics. Obviously there are lots of associated activities such as team management, client and internal liaison, management of interactions with other business units etc but fundamentally we work out how much shit costs.

To put it another way, if someone asks how much it costs to cook a meal most people will tot up the cost of the ingredients. Basically they will tell you how much their Tesco bill was. Tigger and me will start to work out lots of other stuff too like :-
  • the time and associated cost of shopping for the ingredients
  • the time and associated cost of preparing the meal
  • the energy costs to cook, chill etc
  • the cost of clearing up and washing the dishes at the end of the meal
  • possibly even wear and tear on dishes and plates
  • even a proportion of the cost of the tools and appliances used
Basically we will get to a number which explains why a Steak Dinner in a UK restaurant will easily cost you £25 when you could buy the steak in the supermarket for a fiver.

I have digressed a little but it appears that a nameless individual in the USA has produced a very poor and very low estimate of the likely price for the current project. They have also produced, and there is no other way to say it, a piss poor estimate of how long it will take to work out an Indicative Price.

The net result of this poor estimating is that I have run around like a maniac to gather a team together. They have had no time to develop a reasonable estimate and we now have a number that is colossal compared to the aforementioned inaccurate pricing estimate.

The US have been preparing a similar number and the two should have some similarities in much the same way as apples are similar to pears but unfortunately they do not. This, again, is the result of the poor estimate of how long we needed to do the job. We have been rushed. We have not had the time to understand the requirements properly and we have made some mistakes.

The result of all of this is that we I have had some very difficult discussions today and we have been grudgingly given some more time to refine our numbers. People are NOT HAPPY ...

.. neither am I.

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