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The engineer’s estimate

-A formula for success

I try to keep out of trouble at work as much as possible. I do so for many reasons, chief among them being because I far prefer being praised to being yelled at. There is a relatively simple way to achieve this; make your promises rarely and in such a fashion that you have leeway if something should go wrong, and then follow up on it.

I don’t mean to say that you should be ambiguous, but rather that you should promise to deliver so that you have more than enough time on your hands. If you’ve got a task on hand that should take three days, promise to have it done within five.

After promising to deliver in five, do the job, double check everything, then deliver in four. By taking the extra day, you can take your time to perform quality assurance, in turn lowering the chance of problems afterwards, as well as preventing rework.

The mantra is known as Tom Peters‘ Formula for Success: Underpromise and overdeliver.

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