Software Estimation and Austrian law

Ok, I’ve just come out of one of my law classes (part of my business studies) and a small part of today’s topic has made me think about consequences for our software making industry. Austria law states that if you give a customer an estimation of the costs (German: Kostenvoranschlag) you are only allowed miss that goal by +15% otherwise the other party can decline contract fulfillment and pay you a standard rate for work done so far. Don’t nail me down on any law details – I’m no lawyer and only have a minimal set of law courses, but it does get me thinking, how often estimations made on software projects are off by more than 15%.

I recently read the book “Software Estimation” by Steve McConnell and it contains a number of different methods and helpers for better estimations. It’s well written, has lot’s of practical examples (including common pitfalls) and introduces you to a lot of methods for different project sizes. It may not solve all your problems, but it may help you on the way.

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