5 ideas drastically improve your project time estimation
Project time estimation can be more tedious than the actual project itself. Today, clients expect greater transparency in the services process, wanting to know who is working on their project, how long it will take, and why it costs as much as it does.
At the same time, it’s becoming more difficult for services businesses to maintain a healthy project margin. In this article we share 5 ideas drastically improve project time estimation.
3 Significant Parts to Project Estimation
Look for Records from Old Projects
Time spent on each aspect of the ongoing project must be accurately recorded in a database. This data can then be used as a reference for estimating future projects and will give the exact idea of how long it will take to realistically perform the work. These records of old projects will also prepare the project team to face or prevent any impediments that they might face in the present project. The best practices must be incorporated in future estimates.
The planning process must include every scenario that the team might encounter during project execution. Everything from best case scenario, worst case scenario to the most likely scenario, all must be given their due importance and relevant resources must be assigned to them. For tasks which are relatively new for the team members and holds a considerable risk factor, the analysis must be done separately.
Realistic Budget Numbers
Project managers have the tendency to force their team to keep the numbers low while working on an estimate. While serving no purpose, this kind of estimate only looks good on paper. Moreover, the burden of justifying why such a low estimate was made, if ever the project runs into delays due to unknown factors, falls on the project manager’s shoulders. If ever such conflict arises with budget, provisions must be made to alter the scope.
Risk assessment will not be fruitful if all members of a project team are not aware of the inherent risks that might creep into the project. The project estimate must include the perfect risk mitigation plan to prevent any untowardly constraint in the future phase of the project.
Avoid High-Level Breakdowns
Accurate estimates can be created with the help of detailed breakdowns. The details will also help in creating a better understanding of individual responsibilities among the team members. Detailed estimates might reveal inflated costs. However, it’s better to be aware of it when you still have control over the project scope rather than during the implementation stage.
Creating an accurate time estimate up front will help balance both sides by setting client expectations and preventing surprise costs from compromising profit margins.