Over the years I've seen very little attention given to estimation of software projects. The work put into estimation isn't particularly glamorous and the work is difficult. Iakes years of experience to learn, and is never perfect. Yet with so little attention given to estimation, consider that one of the most common, and earliest questions asked when considering a software project are "what hard will it be?", "when can it be finished?" The answers to which, though typically given by an expert, are often given with little detailed analysis.
The consequences of poor estimation can be severe, though they aren't always obvious. Consider the following effects of poor estimation.