Psychology of Estimation: Faster is not always better

In 1979, Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky coined the term “Planning Fallacy” to describe plans and forecasts that are unrealistically close to best-case scenarios. These plans can be improved by consulting the statistics of similar cases.

When you look at the software development and projects done using Agile methodologies, you can see the same phenomena. Projects are estimated too optimistically at start. We are usually too focused on best-case scenarios. Although our experience shows that statistically projects are done closer to their worst-case scenario, we stay optimistic. When issues arise, we blame the odd task that took more than expected, or the unexpected technical difficulty that took a few extra weeks or months. But we should have known better, shouldn’t we have?

In this talk, Amin explains the psychology of estimation and the reasons behind our behaviour. He walks us through the red flags that we can look for to spot Planning Fallacy and describes solutions for estimating more accurately.



Amin Yazdani

Amin Yazdani is a software architect and the director of technology of A.Y. Technologies Inc. Amin has more than 15 years of experience with software development and 5 years of experience with software architecture and design. He has helped many startups with scalability of their software systems and have implemented agile processes to improve software development efficiency. He has been an volunteer and organizer of DevOpsDays Vancouver for the past 3 years. He has a M.Sc. degree in Computer Science from Simon Fraser University.