Evidence-Based Scheduling in FogBugz

Joel Spolsky of Fog Creek Software explains some of the thinking behind Evidence-Based Scheduling included in the new release of FogBugz.

Over the last year or so at Fog Creek we’ve been developing a system that’s so easy even our grouchiest developers are willing to go along with it. And as far as we can tell, it produces extremely reliable schedules. It’s called Evidence-Based Scheduling, or EBS. You gather evidence, mostly from historical timesheet data, that you feed back into your schedules. What you get is not just one ship date: you get a confidence distribution curve, showing the probability that you will ship on any given date.

Honestly, that’s what you ought to be doing if you’re taking a scientific approach. However, your organization and its schedule builders aren’t scientific, preferring instead to build timelines and effort estimates to fit external constraints, deadlines, or budgets instead of reality.

So, carry on with those unwritten tasks of covering your rump when failures occur.

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