Improving Project Estimates

Creating accurate project estimates is akin to a Hail Mary pass in the National Football League; there’s a very slim chance it will ever occur. The problem with providing a bold and direct project schedule and estimate at the beginning of any project is the unwavering assumption of optimism and the predetermine knowledge of lessons learned being applied. This is how many organizations operate and understandably so since it stems from our innate way of breaking down processes into several steps till we accomplish our task and reach a goal but most of us only see the best possible circumstance. These can be alleviated by following a few simple strategies and habits below; also, the action items below are not ordered in any manner and should each be treated in its own merit.

Scope to time is an idea that was born out of the Project Management Triangle also called, ‘Triple Constraint’ is the concept of given a fixed number of features and deliverables; the group will assign a time value to each and this data crunching is performed for all features to determine the total amount of estimated project development. This approach is a simple form of project estimation.

Another tactic is to communicate team assumptions to the entire team which promotes team transparency and it exhibits a healthy practice of bringing project requirements in a clearer light. This will also allow the team to avoid costly surprises during or at end of project development.

Another critical aspect of determining project estimation is identifying the risks associated with projects. Being aware of the risk involved and generating a solid plan on how to overcome is not adequate enough to withstand the intricacies project development. An important part of risk management is to be able to create a source or outlet that will mitigate and/or prevent those risks from ever occurring; teams must be proactive and not reactive.

Project Estimation