I always use the Scotty Principle. Most everyone does, be they computer nerds, authors, or building contractors. The simple truth is there will always be cost overruns. And as we all know, Time is Money (and girls are evil). The Urban Dictionary defines The Scotty Principle as:
The defacto gold star standard for delivering products and/or services within a projected timeframe. Derived from the original Star Trek series wherein Lt. Cmdr. Montgomery ‘Scotty’ Scott consistently made the seemingly impossible happen just in time to save the crew of the Enterprise from disaster.
The premise is simple:
1) Caluculate average required time for completion of given task.
2) Depending on importance of task, add 25-50% additional time to original estimate.
3) Report and commit to inflated time estimate with superiors, clients, etc.
4) Under optimal conditions the task is completed closer to the original time estimate vs. the inflated delivery time expected by those waiting.
There are, of course, corollaries associated with it, like the use of techno-babble. See, Scotty always had excuses to why things would take a long time. “I have to re-calculate the deterioration of dilithium, since we’re using it an accelerated rate due to the ion storm.” This isn’t just a factor of Star Trek, mind you. Where Scotty would say “Someone has to go into the Jeffries Tube!” Doctor Who would say “I have to reverse the polarity of the neutron flow.”
So here are my Scotty School Rules for Support.
1) Always pad your time estimates. (“Well. I can PROBABLY do it in a week.”)
2) Always use big words. (“Just because we violated proper procedure doesn’t abrogate your need to follow it.”)
3) Always use buzz words. (“Actually, SEO will be adversely impacted by FrontPage due to it’s lack of support of Web 3.0 and HTML5.”)
4) Always be honest. (“No, it’s not complicated, it’s just time consuming.”)
5) Always say you can do it. (“Rebuild the entire program in a language I’ve never heard of? Sure.”)
6) Always do it the right way. (“You want me to use FrontPage to build a website? No.”)
7) If they make you do it the wrong way, pad your estimate to allow you a chance to do it BOTH ways. (“Yeah, I did the blog on FrontPage, but it looks weird, so I mocked it up on WordPress.”)
What are your rules?