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Are Story Estimates Valuable?

Whether you're implementing KanBan, Scrum, or Agile Process Management the topic of estimates is always brought up. The question on my mind is whether there is any real value in making an estimate and /or being accurate. Clearly there are opportunities to game the system.

On the other hand what value do they bring to the stakeholders? They are going to set the timeframes based on the need of the feature and not how long it's going to take (although that can play a minor role). And then there is the project management and leadership who is going to review the numbers. But what does it mean to them and what are they going to do with it?
Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge: Yeah, well, I told the Captain I'd have this analysis done in an hour.
Scotty: How long will it really take?
Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge: An hour!
Scotty: Oh, you didn't tell him how long it would *really* take, did ya?
Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge: Well, of course I did.
Scotty: Oh, laddie. You've got a lot to learn if you want people to think of you as a miracle worker.

The bottom line: (a) stakeholders set the priorities. (b) stories are supposed to have known resource costs whether your sprint cycle is a day, week or month (c) daily reviews(standups) and periodic retrospectives are supposed to contain actual effort. So to ask for estimates is just false.

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  1. [...] I like but I plan to makes some modifications. There are a number of concerns. (a) I do not like estimates. (b) attachments are probably valuable  but they are always a challenge to implement correctly. [...]

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