# ArcherPoint Dynamics NAV Developer Digest – vol 75

As they run into issues and questions, find the answers, and make new discoveries, they post them companywide on Yammer for everyone’s benefit. We in Marketing watch these interactions and never cease to be amazed by the creativity, dedication, and brainpower we’re so fortunate to have in this group—so we thought, wouldn’t it be great to share them with the rest of the Microsoft Dynamics NAV Community? So, the ArcherPoint Microsoft Dynamics NAV Developer Digest was born. Each week, we present a collection of thoughts and findings from the ArcherPoint staff. We hope these insights will benefit you, too.

## Alan Campbell on project uncertainty:

The value of three point estimation: Some project managers are reluctant to give a three point estimate because they do not have enough information to provide the optimistic and pessimistic figures. If they provided a pessimistic figure based upon a lack of information, then they would need to make the figure huge, which they think would scare away the customer.

I find this position ironic, because those individuals holding this view precisely state why you should use a three point estimate in the first place: because of uncertainty. If you knew all things about the work to be performed and there was no uncertainty, then your optimistic, pessimistic and most-likely figure would be the same figure. Framing your estimates around future scenarios and different probabilities adds value to conversations with customers about what might happen in the future due to uncertainties. Conversations about alternate scenarios sets expectations that the future of the project is full of uncertainty. Uncertainty in projects is a fact.

It does not matter if you are at the start or the end of the project, project managers should state their estimates in three point form, based upon what they know or do not know about the work to be performed. If they have great uncertainty, then their pessimistic figure should be higher than normal.

Three point estimation is the input to Monte Carlo analysis, which provides many output estimates, each with an associated probability. When talking to a customer, project managers can reference a Monte Carlo estimate and the associated probability.

If you give a customer only the most-likely figure, as derived from historical averages, then you have 50/50 odds that your actuals will be above or below the project budget.

In summary, project managers should always state their estimates in three point form, regardless of how much uncertainty resides in the work at hand. The customer will thank you for it in the end.

Just a follow-up on this post: It is important to understand that NOT all Monte Carlo estimates derived from three point estimation have the same probability. The attached histogram that is derived from a Monte Carlo analysis portrays this concept. Left to right shows the confidence factor, of which we provide to the customer the 95% confidence factor figure as the suggest funding amount for a project. The up and down arrow shows the probability of occurrence. The higher the column the greater the probability of occurrence. This histogram shows that the figure at the 95% column has a significantly lower probability of occurrence than the mean. This is an important distinction to make with the customer. The figure near the middle has a higher probability of occurrence, and is the figure project managers should manage the project to.

Figure 1 – Monte Carlo analysis of a project’s confidence factor.

## Dara Daly shared a few pointers on naming companies and products:

Starting a business or new product line? How do you name it? What factors should you consider? What about your website domain URL? There is more to branding that one might think. These resources offer excellent guidance.

12 Rules for Choosing the Right Domain Name

How To Name A Startup: The S.M.A.R.T. Checklist

Building the Perfect Beast: The Igor Naming Guide

17 Mutable Suggestions for Naming a Startup

Instant Domain Search

Do Start Names Matter?

## Suzanne Scanlan shared five great times to ask your customers for referrals:

Above all else, word of mouth continues to be the most effective advertising. Here are five great times to ask customers for referrals:

1. When they sign and are excited about working with you
2. Right after they give you a Net Promoter Score of nine or above