Software Estimation in Depth

With Steve McConnell

Learn many useful rules of thumb and procedures for creating software estimates.

Start your free trial

*No credit card required!


This course provides many useful rules of thumb and procedures for creating software estimates (“the art of estimation”) and briefly introduces mathematical approaches to creating software project estimates (“the science of estimation”). This course features extensive lab work to give you hands-on experience creating many different kinds of software estimates–for large, medium, and small projects as well as calibrating estimates to be accurate for your specific development environment. You will learn techniques for making sure estimation is treated as an analytical rather than a political process, and you will explore how to negotiate effectively with other project stakeholders (such as marketing, management and your clients) so that everyone wins. This online class is based on the best-selling book, Software Estimation: Demystifying the Black Art, by Steve McConnell.

Highlights from the Course

  • Common Sources of Estimation Error
  • Key Concept: The Cone of Uncertainty
  • Good and Bad Estimation Processes
  • Estimation Error
  • Strengths and Weaknesses of Popular Estimation Methods
  • Better Estimation Methods
  • The Critical Role of Historical Data
  • Using Judgment-Based Estimation Effectively
  • Issues in Scope Estimation
  • Issues in Effort Estimation
  • Issues in Schedule Estimation
  • Estimation on Agile Projects
  • Estimation in the Larger Organizational Context

Certification Information

9 PDU’s
PDU Reporting Instructions

Related Courses

Agile Planning & Estimation, Code Complete Essentials, Understanding Software Projects

Resources: Workbook, quizzes, LAB activities
Duration: 9h 10m

Your instructor
Steve McConnell
Construx CEO / Author of Code Complete


All Resources


Course Introduction
Estimation Foundations
Why Accurate Estimates Matter
The Cone of Uncertainty
What is an Estimate?
What is a “Good” Estimate?
Managing Estimation in the Wide End of the Cone
Feature Staircase & T-Shirt Sizing
LAB: T-Shirt Sizing
Estimation Using Simple Math
Counting, Computing, Judgement
Calibration and Historical Data
Estimation by Analogy
Standard Components
Estimation Using Judgement
Improving Judgement
Improving Task Level Estimates
Suggestions for Task-Level Estimates
Basic Decomposition
Basic Decomposition
Wide-Band Delphi
Scrum Estimation
Long-Range Estimation in Scrum
Story Points
Velocity and Burn Down Charts
Estimation Using Deeper Math
Estimating Schedule
Estimate Evaluation and Refinement
Determining Estimation Error
Building Your Own Cone of Uncertainty
Standardized Estimation Procedure
Course Wrap-Up

OnDemand pricing

Frequently asked questions

Who is Construx?

Construx has been teaching companies the best practices for making software teams successful and efficient for over 20 years. We’re devoted to mastering these concepts and ideas and spreading them so that every software project can be successful. Our founder is Steve McConnell, one of the most well respected authors (Code Complete, etc) in the software industry.

Do you need my credit card for the free trial?

Nope. No sneaky billing at the end of your trial and no need to commit so fast. Sign up and start trying our courses in less than 5 minutes.

How does the free trial work?

Start a trial and you’ll have instant access to our entire OnDemand catalog. Navigate to any course you find interesting and start learning. You’ll have access now through the new year to try any courses you’d like.

What credit cards do you accept?

We take all major credit cards, Paypal, and we can also support invoicing. None of that, however, is needed during the free trial.

What courses will I have access to?

We are continually adding new courses and updated content to the OnDemand catalog. Our current courses can be found here on our course catalog.

What if I have a question not answered here?

We’ll be happy to get in touch. Our sales staff are friendly, knowledgeable and passionate about finding the right training for your specific situation. Contact us today and we’ll connect soon.

Construx OnDemand: Empowering these software teams