Estimates are supposed to inform decision making by reducing uncertainty. This also applies to the types of estimates developers are asked to provide. Because estimates (not guesses and guesstimates) require some effort and rigor, its only fair to ensure that the product of the developer estimation process actually reduces uncertainty to the point that it actually justified going through the estimation exercise.
If you were to do an analysis of the estimation activities that your team(s) perform, would you find that they are truly used to reduce uncertainty? Does their impact on decision making justify the effort spent in actually doing them? Do you ask yourselves “what question does this answer and how does this estimate reduce uncertainty or can we use some other criteria for decision making?”. What would go wrong if you didn’t do them? Why are we doing them in the first place?
Are your estimates just a proxy for communicating something else such as a deadline or fixed budget?
Could the exercise just be a ritual or tradition that may satisfy/address some human need. Human needs are extremely important, but could it be met some other way? I’m a ardent supporter of Arsenal Football Club and every time a player is injured I want the estimate on when the player will be back. It gives me some comfort to know when a player will be coming back but that’s about it. I don’t use the estimate for anything else.
So do yourself a favor, take some time to see if your (developer) estimates are truly valuable. It may seem like this should be common sense but as Voltaire put it:
Common sense is not so common.