Emails published with permission.
Published here October, 2005.
From time to time I get inquires that arouse my interest. Here is one that I think is a very legitimate question and first I try to answer from a purely pragmatic project management perspective. Later in this article you'll find responses from experts in the field.
Anand N. Wrote by Email 8/7/05
I have been following your project management site for a while now and it has been extremely useful. I'm in the position of Software Application Manager with the technology department of a Financial Services major and am based in Singapore.
Due to the nature of competition in the industry segment I work in, projects we work on are extremely tight as the business and management find the need to get the product to market as quick as possible and this "time to market" factor invariably impacts the end quality of the project leading to post implementation issues etc. Our projects are kicked off with the schedule fixed - the effort very rarely drives the schedule leading to a lot of deficiencies. Management understands these factors but we just seem to have to live with it.
One of the lines I use with management to fight for a better project schedule or duration window is: "A 100 man-day project cannot be practically completed in 1 day with 100 resources. Neither is it practical to complete it in 2 days with 50 resources - though possible on paper in an ideal situation
My question to you is: "Are there any tools/formulae to estimate the proper and practical schedule for a software development project, given that the total effort is known?"
Any guidelines you have worked with or pointers to where I can refer will be appreciated.