An article in USA Today (December 12, 2012) about highway projects in New York has the sub-head, “Design errors, planning lapses drove up costs more than 14%.” Among the things listed that “drove up costs” are
It’s true that no one likes for costs to exceed estimates, but exceeding estimates is a very different thing than driving up costs. Those costs were accurate—it was the estimates that did not agree with later reality. Two of these items are mistakes, but the third is apparently a bit of information that was not known when the estimate was made. Had these mistakes not been made, and the excavation needs known in advance, the result would have been the same costs.
The same is true for estimates on your software projects.
On the other hand, the article describes other work where the state engineers “never did any quality control review that would allow them to stop and correct things instead of letting the contractors run up the cost.” This is a real problem.
As projects progress, you learn things—or, at least, you should. You learn that some of your estimates were wrong. You learn there were things you...read more