How much money is this going to take? When will it be done? Are subcontractors needed? These are just some of the questions to ask when starting a new project. While estimations are never set in stone, they can help answer those primary questions that everyone wants to answer. Alyssa Gregory suggests beginning by identifying the deliverables. Then break it down into a detailed plan that lists tasks to accomplish in a logical order. Finally, you need to add it all up. Estimate the time for each task, and always round up.
As always, keep certain variables in mind throughout the project. Gregory calls special attention to project management time, time to review the work of subcontractors, holidays or days off, client turnaround time, and time to debug. That’s a lot of potential time to estimate, so imagine how far off track the project could go if you don’t stop to estimate during the early stages. Start now by identifying deliverables, breaking down the tasks, and adding up the time. Your budget and your schedule will thank you.