Estimating a work project is a difficult task. Why, you ask? Well, the only time we truly ever know just exactly how long it will take to complete a complex project is the moment the project is done! Two of the main reasons for poor project management include missing deadlines and breaking budgets. Skilled project estimators are able to set realistic schedules, establish budgets, and manage resources, while simultaneously running a thriving team. Below are just 3 common methods that project managers use to estimate projects.
1. Analogous Estimation
Analogous estimation uses a similar past project in order to estimate the cost and duration of the existing one. Before using similar past projects as a starting point for current estimations, be sure to check whether or not those previous projects were successful. If they were successful, you can compare projects and use previous data to extrapolate the cost and duration estimates for your existing project.
2. Bottom-up Estimation
This estimation method estimates each task, individually, starting from the very bottom to the resulting goal. Individual tasks are then rolled up to the top to give higher-level estimation numbers. This process is good for thinking about how each individual task is apart of the bigger picture, forcing you really take a step back and think thoroughly about what is required to successfully complete the project and to be sure that the larger goal makes sense.
3. Parametric Estimation
This method calculates estimates using detailed data from previous activities and uses the relationship between variables to estimate the cost and duration of your current project. Using data from previous projects is helpful for calculating a realistic “days-per-workstation” value. If you plan on using the parametric model, keep in mind that it can be tricky making adjustments to previous estimations with the variety of differences that are bound to arise between each new project! In order to accurately estimate the project’s plans, parametric estimation requires robust data!
There are several project estimation methodologies out there to choose from. What’s your preferred method? If you are interested in obtaining a more thorough understanding and comprehensive training of project management, enroll in our Complete Project Manager with CAPM and PMP Prep online course! This program meets the educational requirements for those interested in the Project Management Professional PMP® and CAPM® certifications!