What is the “First-Time First-Use Penalty”?

The First-Time First-Use Penalty states that the first time undertaking anything new it’s impossible to know how long it will take to complete.  A fairly simple principle that absolutely plagues the IT industry due to the complexity and variability of IT systems. IT systems are so unique and so multifaceted that the constant movement of its variables create an incredible challenge to estimating costs accurately.

Regardless of the type of project, if you look close enough you will almost always find a first-time first-use scenario somewhere within it.  It could be a new piece of hardware that has never been used, a new vendor, integrating a new software platform, or even working with a new team.  Many times these factors are dismissed or assumed to be non-issues which is the first mistake.  Depending on the extent of the new scenario the associated risk to estimates can vary significantly.

The First-Time First-Use Penalty is why accurate record keeping and documentation of lessons learned from a project is so important.

Chris Adams
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posted @ Sunday, February 8, 2015 5:57 PM by Chris Adams