3 Tips to Accurately Estimate the Project Duration
Untrained eyes may think that planning a project is as simple as pulling a start date out of the air. Then everyone can get to work.
As a project manager, it takes just one trip down this road to realize that it doesn’t work. Failure to meet deadlines can lead to severe and lasting consequences. It is difficult to predict how long it might take. Let’s discuss it.
Complex reasons make project duration planning difficult
The best way to estimate the duration is often to use the resources that are responsible for the work. This seems like a good place to start. This is the best place for a glimpse of the actual work involved.
It is dangerous to rely upon someone else’s estimates about how long a project might take. Why? Because they are human. Because of their complexity, people often incorrectly analyze things. They incorrectly break it down and conclude it won’t take too much time.
This could be due to a variety of reasons.
They might not have understood the task or the details.
They may not want to look bad in front of their supervisors or peers about the time it will take, so they might give a low estimate.
You can also go the opposite way and get outrageously high estimates based on exaggerating your project’s complexity. It is okay to be both too high and too low.
To be able to plan for a project confidently, it must be “just right” as well as accurate. Accuracy can sometimes be difficult when people are involved.
A word of caution: Processes may fail and leave a project without approvals and sign-offs. They are often efficient and work well. These processes can speed up the process of a project’s completion and allow it to pass through its phases faster. It is difficult to predict when these delays will occur, so you will need to ask yourself “How long will it take?” A tailspin.
Projects today rely on existing technology, but more often, new technology. This could include software, hardware, or equipment. New technology can help reduce the time required to complete a project. In the short-term, there are unknown learning curves which can make it difficult for you to plan the duration of a project.
How can you improve accuracy in project duration estimation?
These are just some of the many problems that can arise from planning, process, technology, or people. What can you do?
Be clear about the final deliverables
It is crucial that project managers make it easy for resources to understand the process of completing an activity. This means that all elements must be clearly documented. Talk to the person who will be estimating the project and go over the details. Answer any questions they may have. It is important to eliminate any areas that are unclear. It is important to feel confident in your understanding of the scope, depth, as well as the nuances. We can discuss the details and final estimates. This extra time will allow you to get accurate estimates when planning for a job. RACI (responsibility assignment matrix) can help you organize your project expectations, and give you a better estimate of time.
Take a look at the past
Have you ever done anything?