Sunday, April 8, 2012

Round number estimates

I've managed a lot of projects in my life and have dealt with people making and then living up to, (more often not) those estimates of duration. I have found some people better at making and living up to estimates and some worse. Usually, those who live up to their estimates are not better at making them, just more dedicated to completing them within the time they estimated.

I once worked with an excellent woman who lived up to all her estimates. This was rare, but what made it rarer was the estimates she provided. She would be in the same room as the rest of the team making their duration estimates but when others would say a task took five, ten or fifteen days, her estimates were always six, twelve or eighteen; always some multiple of six.

I initially suspected that by giving herself an extra day of buffer she was more able to meet her deadlines but, after looking carefully around the room one day, I thought there might be a deeper-seated reason for her strange estimates. It took me a few years before I was able to verify my suspicions but finally, at a company picnic, I caught her unawares with her gloves off.

Just as I'd always suspected. People will estimate task durations based less on the complexity of the tasks and more on the numbers of fingers on their hands.


  1. is the picture a photoshop or it is real if that is real would you upload more pics of her?

    1. Looks pretty photoshopped to me. Don't remember where I got it. But I seem to remember that the webpage accompanying it talked about photoshopping. Most hands with an extra digit don't look this perfect. Not to say beautiful people don't have six fingers on a hand. Bond Girl Gemma Arterton had her extra digits removed as a baby.

      Oh, and to answer your question, no I don't have any more photos of the beautiful model.