Project Management

Smart Tools to Calculate Accurate Project Estimate

To guard a project against uncertainties, accurate estimation of the budget, time, and resources is essential. However, even after years of experience, many project managers struggle with accuracy.

In this article at LiquidPlanner, Keiko Borkenhagen suggests some tools and techniques to estimate project tasks in best or worst-case scenarios.

Project Estimation Techniques

Here is a list of techniques for the newbies or first-time users to efficiently manage the project:

  1. Bottom-up Estimating: Firstly, break down the real work involved in the project as per the general estimate of the project time and scope. Further, starting with a rough estimate of the effort will result in more accurate estimation. After that ensure that the tasks can reasonably estimate if the project criteria is comprehensible, manageable, and assignable.
  2. Best-case to Worst-case Estimating: It helps in estimating if the remaining efforts are given in a range. Think of the last single-point estimate for a given task and track the actual outcome. It’s best to capture a task in best-case to the worst-case The ranged estimates are also an ideal way to sway a task towards best or worst-case estimate. Now, achieving the best-case scenario means the project process went smoothly with clear communication across the team to keep everything on track. Similarly, the worst-case scenario will bring focus towards the problems and risks that may result in the worst-case estimate.
  3. Phased Estimating: Even after breaking down the work and estimating the assigned range for each task, you need to look at the estimates again. Working on the tasks in the project gives better certainty about the expected project outcome. By quickly reviewing the project meetings for the next phase, you can squeeze the tasks estimates in each phase of the project.

Tools for Managing Project Estimate

Keeping track of project reports is equally pivotal. Here is a list of tools to keep record of the changes made in project reports:

  1. Manage Sub-Task Items Using Checklists: To manage a task with multiple details to track, use a checklist to keep a track of all the items. It can be assigned to diverse teams and helps in showing constant progress.
  2. Set Daily Limits on Larger Tasks: A project can involve tasks that may take more than a day. Use this tool to determine the maximum time allotted for the tasks per day. It helps in estimating the daily time a team member should allocate for different projects or tasks.
  3. Monitor Changes from Task Estimation History: This tool helps in updating the task estimates when the scope has augmented or deteriorated.
  4. Compare Estimates Using Baseline Reports: This tool helps in comparing the current project status to the estimate with the specific date in the past. It helps in monitoring if the project is ahead of schedule, on track, or is missing deadline. It also helps in comparing estimates for the new project by comparing the accuracy of the past deliverables.
  5. Use Templates to Copy Estimates for New Projects: To reduce the time and effort of doing repeat tasks, create templates to set up a general project structure. Every time you receive a new project, see how much repeat tasks are required for it and use the templates accordingly. Once you duplicate the project template, all the standard estimates will carry over to the new tasks.

To know the intricate details of these tools and techniques shared by the author, follow the original article link:

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