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The Nuts & Bolts of Project
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Each month our newsletter will delve into a specific
in the phases of Initiation, Planning and Execution of
projects. Our methodology is applicable to any project
in any industry. Our systematic approach to Project
Management is designed to help your company's
projects gain traction quickly, communicate clearly to
all parties and keep them on track to reach a
This newsletter focuses on Process 5: Estimating Task
the Planning phase.
|The Three Estimating Paradoxes|
| ||An estimate is a guess...|
you are required to
commit to as fact.
Work is not compressible...
yet somehow, work
Estimating can be done only
when you clearly understand the work to be
but you must make estimates before
you fully understand the work.
|Effort, Duration, and Calendar Time Are Not The Same|
Time it takes to complete a task
assuming the work is without
gaps of non-work
Duration plus statutory non-work
periods (nights, week-ends, holidays)
Effort"Pure effort" is only possible on
short tasksIs hard to ascertain because work is
prone to interruptionIs usually measured in
Is usually the
response to "How long will it take?"May be hard to
ascertain amidst all other job responsibilitiesIs
usually measured in days
Needs to be verified for particular
project environment: "Will we work week-ends?"Is
aided by scheduling software
| ||As you begin estimating your tasks, we suggest
you charaterize them as either Strategic,
EstimatesAre used to give a 'go/no go'
decision on investigation of a projectAccuracy is
plus or minus 100%Answers the question, Is this
task a mouse or an elephant?
EstimatesAre given to task owners to
refineAccuracy is plus or minus 25%
Tactical EstimatesAre what task owners
can commit toAccuracy is plus or minus 5%
|Task Duration Is Affected By Resources|
| ||Resource-Driven TasksDuration decreases as more
resources are addedOften "blue collar" or
clerical tasksMight increase in duration with
"Fixed" Duration TasksDuration is not dependent
resources"Information Work" is usually in this
categoryCan be affected by hidden waits and
Beware! Popular project
management software often defaults to the Resource-
Driven task type. This mathematically shortens a task
duration as resources are added.
| ||Make sure you know what the task
methodology that justifies the estimateCut your
estimating time in half by doing Planning
Level estimating now and refine your estimates
later when you know which tasks could delay your
project (Critical Path).|
|Final Estimating Thoughts|
| ||An estimate should contain data to determine what will
happen, not what we would like to
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