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Is there an idiom/phrase for when you tell someone you'll have something done at a given time, but then more complications arise and it extends the time needed? For example, I'm working on a project and everything seems like it's done, and when I test it, something has broken, and now it'll take more time to finish.

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  • 2
    When providing an estimate for a "job completion timescale", always allow for contingencies. Oct 31, 2017 at 16:15
  • It could depend on the type of work. You encountered unforeseeable roadblocks, you discovered bugs in the system/program, you hit a snag during testing, etc.
    – J. Tate
    Oct 31, 2017 at 16:20
  • Risk should cover the bill. The answer to risk is to pad the planning with a percentage of the estimated time, a figure that had better be rooted in experience.
    – Bookeater
    Oct 31, 2017 at 16:51
  • Look up contingencies.
    – Ricky
    Oct 31, 2017 at 16:54
  • Something about not counting one's chickens? Oct 31, 2017 at 20:29

2 Answers 2

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These unforeseen problems are often called glitches.

glitch : a small problem or fault that prevents something from being successful or working as well as it should:

We'd expected a few glitches, but everything's gone remarkably smoothly.

The system has been plagued with glitches ever since its launch.

Cambridge

One can express the possibility of such things arising by saying :

Barring glitches, we'll be done in three days.

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In software development this is often called the 80/20 rule, which is properly stated as:

The first 80% of the functionality takes 20% of the time; the remaining 20% of the functionality takes the remaining 80% of the time.

but is arguably more accurately stated as:

The first 80% of the functionality takes 80% of the time; the remaining 20% of the functionality takes the remaining 80% of the time.

for a total of 160%.

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