Planning is not estimation is not analysis

Planning is not estimation is not analysis

After a fruitful discussion on the last meeting of Limited WIP Society Cologne (, I’d like to summarize some terms: 

Often planning and estimation (and analysis) is used interchangeably, but this yields to confusion and stress:

Estimation is the act of determining values based on uncertain data. Usually, thought as predicting some future result.

Analysis is the act of breaking something into parts to get a better understanding of it. If you ask a software architect to estimate, he’ll most likely start an analysis and provides some complexity measure (e.g. in function/story points). If you force him to convert the result into person days, then he’ll estimate a factor he applies to the result.It’s a good idea to not ask him to convert into person days. Rather let the factor be based on historical data.

Planning is an act of arranging tasks to fulfill a management target. A plan is never wrong, but has some probability to hit the target. To determine the probability you need an estimation.

2 thoughts on “Planning is not estimation is not analysis

  1. There is a relationship between estimation and analysis: estimation can help to support collaborative analysis, as in this dialogue:

    Developer 1: I think it is a 13! Why do you say it is a 5?
    Developer 2: I thought, we do it with an SQL script.
    Developer 1: Oh, I thought we need a GUI, instead!
    Product Owner: No, it is just a migration thing, so feel free to use SQL.

  2. Matthias, in your example dialogue: As long as you are talking in story points, aren’t you just doing analysis?

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