Best answer when ask for estimates is NO

You’ve been a lot of times in a situation when you have a problem (or at least you think so), money to solve that and you ask someone for estimates to understand when you are going to get your solution.

As a product owner you want to hear that you will get that thing in one sprint, not three.
As person looking for outsourcing company you might want to spend less money.
This list can go longer, but basically you want hear a number.

In most cases people who request estimates don’t event expect to have another answer - discussion. They just need estimates to make their decision or pass over this information further so others could do that instead.

I instead expect to hear following answer a team - “No, you don’t need that! Because…” or “Hm, no. Let’s take a look at alternatives…” or “Why? Did you think of this?”

This “NO” means following to me:

  • team knows the domain
  • there is trust between me and team
  • there is a valuable discussion
  • we can achieve better results

Otherwise you have a bunch of doers or an army, but maybe it’s just what you prefer better.