IMHO, one useful model for estimating time for, say, software tasks, comes from Engineer Scotty of the Star Trek television series.

Scotty typically states his estimate verbally, usually 48 hours, or else invariably much more time than the current crisis will allow. In the end it takes 15 minutes or something. All of us are, like, “oh, snap-damn!”, because converting dilithium to trilithium does sound really complicated. Hell, is it even possible?

In this kind of case the obscure nature of engineering deck and some lack of transparency regarding what Scotty is up to when he’s offscreen helps to make this type of estimation and actualization pattern work.

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