IT Development

Right First Time: Estimating and Sizing for insurance programmes

IT Development | Georgina | 21 January 2022

In Right First Time we explore how assuring successful change management is crucial in insurance transformational programmes. Dynamic software applications allow insurers to transact policies and enable digital platforms more effectively than ever before. However, implementation is not merely a matter of getting it done, but in getting it done right the first time, every time.

Estimating and Sizing

When planning an insurance software release, there are a wide range of elements to be considered, from which resources are required, to how Sprint Reporting will operate. Perhaps the most fundamental question is … how big is the Backlog?

Estimating and sizing are the keys to answering this question. In a Backlog, each deliverable Work item, a User Story, for example, is estimated. When all required Work items are organized into a Backlog, such as for a release, the estimates can be summed to find the size (sometimes called the scope, or ceiling) of the Backlog.

Once the size of the Backlog is known, Project Managers can calculate how many programme participants are required and what skills are needed. They can decide upon the number of Sprints required to deliver the work and a whole host of their aspects without which, planning would be near impossible.


Work items, User Stories, for instance, might be estimated in several different ways. Different estimating methods might also be used at different times. The most frequently used methods of estimating are T-shirt, Story Points and Time Buckets. Each has pros and cons. Ensuring the methodology, whichever is used, is applied consistency is essential to effective estimation.

Estimation Buffers are commonly applied to accommodate surprises during the Build Phase, or where the scope of a particular Work item might be prone to change.


Once all the Work items contained within the Product Backlog, or a subdivision of the Product Backlog, such as the Release Backlog has been estimated, that Backlog may now be sized. The estimates for all Work items in the Backlog are summed to find the total size.

At times, especially in insurance transformation programmes, the terms ‘estimate’ and ‘size’ may be interchangeable, in which case, it is worth checking if the intent is to reference the technical estimation of a Work item, or the size of a Backlog.

Effective sizing enables a range of important project metrics and activities, including charting Burn Up and Burn Down, velocity management, and release planning.

Estimating and Sizing with Solution Assurance

Solution Assurance is a vital third-party service that assists customers to install and developing effective enterprise insurance software solutions.

Estimation and Sizing are fundamental to any insurance transformational programme. Solution Assurance is essential in grounding the methodologies used and in ensuring consistency of application. The use of Sizing in relation to Backlog management and planning are also supported, guarding the programme against costly missteps.