The efficiency of parameter estimation of quantum channels is studied in this paper. We introduce the concept of programmable parameters to the theory of estimation. It is found that programmable parameters obey the standard quantum limit strictly; hence no speedup is possible in its estimation. We also construct a class of non-unitary quantum channels whose parameter can be estimated in a way that the standard quantum limit is broken. The study of estimation of general quantum channels also enables an investigation of the effect of noises on quantum estimation.