President of my employer: how long do you thing it will take to complete x type of migration?

Me: I don't know. We've never done one.

President: well how long do you think it will take based on your experience?

Me: I don't know. I've never done one.

  • 12
    Fucking yes. All of my yes.

    All I ever hear is:

    "How long will this take?"

    "I don't know. I've never done it before."

    "But if you had a gun to your head."

    I can't know what I don't fucking know!
  • 8
    @Charon92 then I would have a gun to my head and still have no idea.
    by the way, that goldfish over there seems to have an idea, let go ask it..
  • 2

    If only that worked...

    They still pressure me for an answer. I get why they do it. They need timelines to tell people but, I can't just make something up. Which has is what I'd be doing if I gave an answer...
  • 5
    @Charon92 as a team leader in an agile environ, I used a nice solution for this problem:
    created a 3 day research/estimate task that was used to define, scope, specs, and timetable for a given unknon whatever.
    in essence, shutup, and let me find out what needs to.be done, we can estimate based on something other then a wild guess.
  • 2

    So it's basically about being adamant that you need time to scope?

    I always seem to have to answer immediately. Every time I've said "No, I don't know and it would be irresponsible to say." I always get the "But if you had to..." speech and no matter what I say nobody seems to listen.
  • 4
    @magicMirror I wish they would let me have time to define things like that. Instead my projects often get the combination of what the sales team feels like it should take, and whatever gets the numbers low enough to get the sale. Then they say "hey we lost money on project x". "You didn't account for the research and issues from not knowing how to do this"
  • 5
    @Charon92 not that hard. Ask yourself this question
    does it take a year?
    does it take six months?
    does it take 3 months?
    1.5 months?
    3 weeks?
    there's always an estimate.

    Also divide long migrations to sub-tasks. Try to search what code will be affected, and estimate work om these parts.

    Also, always ask your boss to give you time so you can estimate. Tell them you'll study it and reply in an hour. They can't really say no to that, or they'd just be stupid, assholes, etc... not uncommon :p

    Just give the highest one you think works. If you end up finishing sooner, do code cleanup, documentation, testing,etc...

    just some hints :)
  • 0

    And if I just have no idea? That seems to be my issue. Having not done a great deal of things before means I have little to no idea of how to even scope it properly.

    I know how to break down tasks into roughly 3 hour blocks but if I don't even know what I'd need to break down...
  • 1
    How did he become President?
  • 1
    @Charon92 which is what I mentioned. Tell your boss you will come back to him with an estimation. After you've done research
  • 3
    @Charon92 @steaksauce : don't make it personal. Make it as inclusive as possible. Avoid using the first pronouns.
    Donts: I need more time. I have no idea. I never done this before.
    Do: In order to give the client a feasible cost esimate, and look more proffesional, we should....
    Never give a "from the hip" answer. always ask for more information about the requriments. Tell the asker that you (asker included) require more info, or the ROI will be negative for this project.

    tl;dr : delay, obfuscate, annouy, and never answer the question.
  • 0
    Get this sort of thing all the damn time. It’s because traditional management holds estimation as gospel.

    Problem is that you’re damned if you do and if you don’t.

    Either you’ve got it way out and you don’t have enough time to get it done, and end up being branded incompetent.


    you’ve got it way out and get it done sooner than you said, and you get branded greedy / lazy / as taking advantage.

    Occasionally you get the planets aligning and they understand or everything just works to schedule, but yeah, that’s a rarity.

    I think this is why we’re so stressed all the damn time.
  • 2
    @Floydian by starting the business :p
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