We’re fickle creatures. We have a developers ego. We’ve solved hard problems before, and this one, “pff, should only take a couple of hours”. We just have to finish up this one bug then we’ll jump to whatever you’re talking about. “Shouldn’t be long.” Famous last words.
Obviously this is a bit harsh, however, I’m sure some of us on both sides, project managers and developers have heard or said this. I’ve been working in a development agency for over three years and I have a message to project managers coming from a developer: never trust a dev.
As a project manager it is your job to do just that, manage the project. That means setting expectations for the client, and protecting the timeline. Although a developer might have these things in mind, it is certainly not her/his sole responsibility. Therefore when a developer gives you an estimate for a task, be sure to pad…healthily.
There are quite a few articles that cover why estimating is difficult, and I really enjoyed this Dropbox post especially the portion on estimating painting a room. Estimating a task can be extremely difficult and there is nothing worse than trying to fix or implement something as a dev under pressure and knowing that you don’t have much more time left.
So project managers: do us a favor, don’t trust us. For everyone’s sake.