How to forecast engineers required to build a feature?

I’ve been a PM for a while now and work closely with engineers but I want to understand and become good at how I can just look at my request and say “hmmm I think this is gonna take 5 people working on this for a month”.

It’s the team’s responsibility to size projects, not their PM’s. Believing you can learn to do this as well or better than the entire team of smart people who will be doing the work and have done similar work in the past is not realistic at all.

A big part of being a PM is being a broken record in many situations and this is one of them: get used to answering stakeholders’ timing questions by always answering “I’ll have to get back to you - I need to discuss this work with the team to size it”, and don’t give in to stakeholders begging for time estimates in the moment.

, I don’t think PMs should play any role in estimating the size of projects besides defining the project’s scope! It’s a conflict of interest IMO: the PM will always want lower sizes so they can fit more work in each sprint (unless the PM is asking the team to size a project that they don’t actually want to do).

The only role I play as a PM in sizing is in clarifying and adjusting the scope of the work. For example, the team might size a project at 13 points. I could ask them what’s making it a 13 rather than an 8, and they may say a particular feature is adding a lot of complexity.

If I can live without that feature or if it’s OK to deliver it at a later date, I’d remove that feature from scope and ask the team to resize it. They may still size it at a 13, but I can keep working with them to cut scope until it gets sized smaller.

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