Cutting Scope

You imagine a new feature. You spend weeks designing it. You are very careful to limit the scope to the bare minimum. You prepare a detailed specification. You show the specification to engineers. Shock! According to engineers it will take 430 man-days to implement the feature you thought required not more than a man-month or two of work! The first reaction is to curse engineers, of course, and to question their judgement. But decades of experience tells you engineers are never pessimists, so questioning their judgement has never turned out as a good idea. We can't afford to invest 2 man-years into this particular functionality, so what now. Scraping the functionality altogether or...

...start cutting the scope. The first iteration of cutting non-essential functionality brings us to 200 man-days. Much better but still far cry from 50 man-days we've hoped initially to spend on this functionality. Second round of cutting - 130 days. Not there yet, but making progress. Third round of cutting - 80 days. Ok. It seems will have to add another engineer to the team but at least the situation doesn't look hopeless anymore. And looking at the trimmed down list of functionalities, the effort estimates don't look unrealistic anymore. Maybe engineers were right and product managers weren't as successful in cutting down scope as we initially thought.

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