Estimating the effort to complete activities is an important part of scheduling. Estimating can be tough, but there are ways to make it easier. Learn how to identify high-level decisions for estimating activities.
- [Instructor] Estimating the effort to complete activities is an important part of scheduling. Estimating can be tough, but there are ways to make it easier. First, take an iterative approach to estimating, also called rolling wave planning. Start with a rough estimate, plus or minus 50%, to see if a project makes sense to pursue. As you learn more, you can build more accurate mid-range estimates.
For example, you can estimate the next project phase or deliverable at plus or minus 25% without estimating activities in detail. Then when you finish one project phase or a pilot project, you can re-estimate and schedule the activities in the next phase based on what you've learned. Finally, detailed estimates take the longest to develop, but they should be close to your final numbers plus or minus 10%.
You need to decide whether you're going to estimate activity duration or work hours. Most people think in terms of duration. Yeah, that content is going to take eight days to write. When you get duration estimates, be sure to ask the people who provided the estimates about their assumptions. Is it eight days full time for one person, or eight days with the time that person has available, or eight days for the entire team? You can get more accurate estimates with work hours.
A team member could say, those chapters are going to take 60 hours to write. The estimate is more detailed, and it's within the eight to 80-hour activity guideline. Once you know how many people you have to do the work, you can figure out the duration. About eight days for one writer or four days for two writers. Estimates are important, because they forecast how long the project will take and what it will cost.
Note: This course aligns with best practices from A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, (PMBOK® Guide) - Sixth Edition, published by the Project Management Institute®.
- Developing a schedule management plan
- Identifying project activities
- Adding milestones
- Organizing work
- Estimating duration and work
- Handling lag in dependencies
- Defining resources
- Assigning resources to activities
- Working with part-time and remote workers
- Fine-tuning assignments
- Optimizing schedules
- Managing and changing schedules