Effort, duration, and cost—if you’ve got these three things figured out, the rest of the project should be a breeze. Unfortunately, estimating these components isn’t so easy. If you’re having some trouble with estimation, Tom Mochal has the step-by-step guidelines to keep you on track.
- Determine how accurate your estimate needs to be.
- Create the initial estimate of effort hours.
- Add specialist resource hours.
- Consider rework.
- Add project management time.
- Add contingency hours.
- Calculate the total effort.
- Review and adjust as necessary.
- Document all assumptions.
The last step is especially important, because you will have to make a lot of assumptions. That’s ok. It’s called an estimate for a reason. Just make sure you keep a detailed record of all the assumptions you made and why you made them. In the end, it all comes down to time. It’s not just the time spent on the project, but also the time spent on estimation that will help determine your outcome.