Read all four articles, but esp. these and the following paragraphs:
Blog: Project Estimation and Black Swans (Part 4)
So: we can’t predict the unpredictable. There is a viable alternative, though: we can expect the unpredictable, anticipate it to some degree, manage it as best we can, and learn from the experience. Embracing the unpredictable reminds me of the The Fundamental Regulator Paradox, from Jerry and Dani Weinberg’s General Principles of System Design which I’ve referred to before:
The task of a regulator is to eliminate variation, but this variation is the ultimate source of information about the quality of its work. Therefore, the better job a regulator does, the less information it gets about how to improve.
This suggests to me that, at least to a certain degree, we shouldn’t make our estimates too precise, our commitments too rigid, our processes too strict, our roles too closed, and our vision of the future too clear. When we do that, we reduce the flow of information coming in from outside the system, and that means that the system doesn’t develop an important quality: adaptability.Read more at www.developsense.com