Scotty Factor

The ScottyFactor is a factor you apply to your real initial time estimation of how long it will take to accomplish a task in order to give a figure to management.

The original source for this was in the movie Star Trek III, when Kirk asks "Mr. Scott. Have you always multiplied your repair estimates by a factor of four?" To which Scotty replies, "Certainly, Sir. How else can I keep my reputation as a miracle worker?"

In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Scotty is horrified to learn that Geordie has given accurate estimates to the captain. "How are ye going to get a reputation as a miracle worker?" he asks the somewhat confused Geordie.

When you apply this to your work, start with the number of hours you think it will actually take, and multiply by 4. Report this number to management, and then negotiate. Let them forcefully beat you into lowering the number, but only down to around 2 times your real estimate.

When you finish slightly ahead of time (always longer than your real initial estimate, rarely twice as long), everyone will be pleased.

This is a form of SchedulePadding.

Similar to the Saudi Prince Method... whereby you tell your contractor you need it done by X date, and they hurry to complete it, missing the deadline, but it doesn't matter because the deadline allows for plenty of time to do it right the second time.


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