Heuristic Estimate

Can someone help me in understanding what is "Heuristic Estimate" ?

admin's picture

Heuristic is an experience-based technique, it is used when exhaustive estimation based on detailed mathematical formulas is impractical.  Its similar to expert judgement , meaning if the person has done the similar project in past, then based on heuristics he can give an estimate along with explainations.


In software world generally we dont have much details during the start of projects, so scientific estimation techniques may not be feasible to apply till we have more information. In such circumstances, based on some assumptions, and constraints we can give and heuristic estimate

if person has done the similar project in past, then in that case it is analogus estimate why we will call it as heuristics estimate?

Analogous estimate is also based on an expert judgment where it is required when mathematical calulations are not poosible and apply during intial days of the project.

RP's picture

In my opinion, a heuristic estimate is common, acceptable or rule of thumb estimating input that is based on prior execution of projects or even sometimes operations for that matter. Yes, it experience based but such now becomes a 'norm'. According to Rita's book, Heuristic refers to 'rule of thumb' and according to my experience, I concur. An example - Budgetary requirements for safety training in company xyz is $10000 according to previously accepted projects/OPA or design work is equal to 15% of total estimate (as per Rita). An analogous estimate however is also experience based but not necessarilly a rule of thumb estimating technique. Here the estimator takes previously incurred costs on similiar projects and applies the same based on prior experience. Example; It cost me $10000 to purchase a prospect licence in 2010 so I assume that it will be the same/similiar now.