Past Performance is no Guarantee

It’s been shown that many of us have no idea how good we are. So just how are we going to assess our strengths and weaknesses?

I’m a fan of Joel’s Painless Software Schedule. I like that it’s simple. I like that it recognizes that the schedule is worthless until you’ve resolved the design down to fine grained tasks. And I really like that it keeps track of the original estimate, current estimate, and actual time invested. Because while past performance is no guarantee of future results, it’s a heck of a lot better than anything else that we’ve got.

How good you are on an absolute scale is not as important as how good you are relative to expectations. Having data on past performance allows you to make better task estimates in the future and understand the relative strengths and weaknesses of your team. Now you have a shot at reconciling time, talent and expectations.