Development Planning, part 1
At my job, the devs are required to be more than just developers. We have to be process consultants, project managers, developers, testers, tech writers, trainers, and the plumber. I'm going to through the process of learning how to plan and estimate a project. Here's one of the tricks that I've picked up that our group is adopting.
One of the ideas put forth by Tom Peters ("The Mythical Man Month") is the "80 Hour Rule". To sum it up, any task must have a deliverable result within 80 hours. We have taken it one step further since if you have an 80 hour task doing RAD, you're not doing RAD. So we set it to be X and define X based on the size of the project. If this task cannot show a result, it can be broken down further. None of us had ever thought of this before, including people who had been doing project management for 15+ years. It's so simple I could weep. This also has a side benefit in that your estimating is already done. If you have 15 tasks for a project development cycle and you have defined X to be 10 hours and blammo, your 180 hour cycle estimate is done.