SWAG PM ka desi 😎 !

SWAG stands for Scientific Wild-Ass Guess & it is used as a proxy for effort estimate. The word swag is meant to convey that the estimate is just a guess. When using swags to build a timeline, you usually at least 2x times–or infact even 4x times–to incorporate for the estimate being off and to account for all the other things that need to get done in a day, such as doing code reviews and writing tests.

Another popular name used for such a high level estimate is ROM (Rough Order of Magnitude), which also gives a nice description of the purpose and level of accuracy of such an estimate.

Product team, while accessing the efforts in terms of how many weeks of work it might take to build feature “ABC”, it’s impossible to be completely accurate, since there’s always room for unexpected or unforeseen challenges.In such cases, the team aims for a SWAG. A SWAG is preferable in comparison to a mere speculation in the dark (which is known as “WAG”) — it’s an educated guess based on already available information, mostly in the form of a rough “spec” document describing the feature and reviewed by the engineering team. That’s the sophistication engine which is fuelling this guess.

Let’s SWAG it with an example. Product manager do the SWAG estimation of the stories, based on t-shirt sizes (XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL). The key here is to anchor the first task estimate as a baseline for other tasks. Here are the two example stories:

As a user , I want to clearly see a doc icon beside a link so I know it’s a doc download.

As a user , I want to see the size of the doc files so I know how large it is to download.

In the former story, the requirement is “ to style links to show an icon”. The latter story requires the file size to be calculated, stored and then displayed next to a link.

Thanks for reading! If you’ve got ideas to contribute to this conversation please comment. If you like what you read and want to see more, clap me some love! Follow here, or connect with me on LinkedIn

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Senior Product Manager @AngelOne, ex-@Flipkart, @Cleartrip @IIM Bangalore. Interests: Product, Technology, Strategy, Startups, Fintech & E-commerce!

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Rohit Verma

Senior Product Manager @AngelOne, ex-@Flipkart, @Cleartrip @IIM Bangalore. Interests: Product, Technology, Strategy, Startups, Fintech & E-commerce!