Mike Griffiths is a project manager based in Calgary and has an awesome blog on agile project management. I admit I don't always follow the hard-core estimation planning techniques but yesterday's post on the Top 10 Estimation Best Practices is Gold with a capital Guh.

3. Agree on what “It” and “Done” means – make sure everyone is estimating in the same units (e.g. ideal days), have the same assumptions, and are based on standard developer ability/effort. When asking for estimates spell out what you are asking them to estimate. What does “Done” include? Coded, unit tested? How about integrated and system tested? What about refactoring contingencies? User meeting time?

10. Review, Revisit, Remove head from sand, Repeat – Our first estimates will likely be our worst. Don’t leave it there; review the project velocities to see how fast we are really going. Revisit the estimates armed with the real velocities to determine likely end dates. Embrace the reality you see, “The map is not the territory”, reprioritize and repeat the estimation process often to adapt and iterate to the most accurate estimates

It was originally titled the Top 10 Agile Estimation Best Practices but someone correctly pointed out that they applied to any estimation planning.

He has it available in handy PDF format and he's too polite to say it so I'll voice the implication: Put it up on the wall over top of the picture of your kids and read it every day!

Y'know, if you want to.

Kyle the Best Practiced