Wow, project much?
You managed to cram reading comprehension fail, reiterating my main point while telling me I don't know what I'm talking about and preening all into one post. Great job!
As to the substance of why estimates are a good thing, we are in perfect alignment. But how do you provide an estimate for the issues I was talking about? Let's say the one of the financial reports on Hyperion is not working right. Upon immediate inspection your guy doesn't see what the problem is. How do you provide an estimate? This is something you intend to have fixed in the next hour or two. You have your best people on it.
But it could be a problem with the report. Or a bug in the report server. Or a problem with the SQL server. Or a problem with the optimizations on the view it is calling. Or maybe it is a problem with the account mapping application - or maybe someone in accounting changed the map and didn't realize what the consequences would be elsewhere. At this moment in time you literally have no idea at all what the timeline is. It could be an hour. You hope it is an hour. But it could just as easily be a bug in Hyperion that will require a fix from the vendor. That would take weeks. Now, in an hour or two you'll have enough information to provide a decent answer. You'll know if the problem is bigger than you can handle with your staff. But they want an answer right now. This is where the real clash comes in .
They are demanding an answer for the reasons you have outlined. But you can't give one. Not the honest answer anyway. Because the honest answer at that moment is "I don't know", and nobody wants to hear that. The solution to this problem for us was to let them know we were looking into it and we would set a time to give them an estimate in a couple of hours. Now, in this situation the problem will be solved before the estimate is due most of the time, which just feels weird. But it addresses all of the issues that people have with the process. By saying less than we know, we communicate better. Saying "I'll look into it and get back with you by 3 o'clock" works perfectly. But coming from our culture of "everything ASAP" this felt wrong. My real intention was to have the whole thing done by 11am. But that wasn't a number you could promise to anyone, because you have no clue if you are dealing with horses or zebras. Once we figured out that the new people would rather wait a little longer and hear a firm answer, everything was fine. But in our startup years that would never have worked.