Cost Estimation for Projects: How to Estimate Accurately

ProjectManager.com

Good cost estimation is essential for keeping a project under budget. Many costs can appear over the life cycle of a project, and an accurate estimation method can be the difference between a successful plan and a failed one. Estimation, however, is easier said than done. Cost estimation is the process that takes those factors into account, and calculates a budget that meets the financial commitment necessary for a successful project. An Overview of Cost Estimation.

Governance and Estimating

Herding Cats

If your business is not subject to any external governance process, you’re free to spend your money as you please. But you’re not free to suggest your approach is applicable to those who are governed by external frameworks of spending and accountability for that spend, without a testable confirmation this idea doesn’t violate those governance principles. Governance includes: Responsibility for a specific duty, task, or decision. NoEstimates Governance

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Estimates, Forecasts, Projections

Herding Cats

Estimates. An Estimate is a value inferred for a population of values based on data collected from a sample of data from that population. The estimate can also be produced parametrically or through a simulation (Monte Carlo is common, but Method of Moments is another we use). . Estimates can be about the past, present, or future. We can estimate the number of clams in the Pleistocene era that are in the shale formations near our house. Estimate to Complete.

8 Tips for Estimating Resources in Project Management

MavenLink

There are several methods for using project scope to help estimate deliverables, including a top-down or bottom-up approach. For instance, an industry with government or health services clients can expect increased bureaucracy and downtime during reviews, approvals, etc.

How to Estimate Project Duration

Wrike

Knowing how to estimate project duration can help teams become more efficient and improve on-time and on-budget delivery. . When it comes to project management time estimation, there are a couple of likely scenarios. Why is it important to estimate project duration?

Software Estimating Resources

Herding Cats

This blog page is dedicated to the resources used to estimate software-intensive systems using traditional and agile development methods. The reason for this resource page is the lack of understanding of how to estimate, the urban myths about software estimating, and the fallacies that estimating is not needed, when developing software, in the presence of uncertainty, when spending other peoples money. Estimating Probable System Cost,” Stephen A.

Estimating is a Learned Skill

Herding Cats

Estimating is a learned skill, used for any purpose from every-day life to management of projects. When I left for the airport this morning to catch my flight to a customer site I estimated, given the conditions, how much time I need to get to my favorite parking spot at DIA. The same process for estimating is applied to multi-billion dollar projects we work. Here's some materials that provide the tools and processes needed to learn how to estimate.

What is an Estimate? What is Estimating?

Herding Cats

I work in a domain where estimates are made every single week. Estimate to Complete (ETC), Estimate at Completion (EAC), Estimated Completion Date (ECD) are the life blood of our software intensive system of systems programs. Since all projects operate in the presence of uncertainty, with the resulting risk - estimates are needed to make decisions that impact the future. This, of course, is nonsense, since estimates are about the past, present, and future.

Decisions Without Estimates?

Herding Cats

Can you make a decision without an estimate? There are NO means of making a credible decision in the presence of uncertainty without estimating the outcome of that decision. If you want to decide what's the probability of occurrence of some Epistemic uncertainty or the statistical processes for some aleatory activity you need to estimate. Don't assume, Estimate. How can you assess the strategy without making estimates of the impact of the outcome of the hypothesis?

Project Governance: Establishing an Effective Steering Committee

Strategy Execution | PMO Perspectives

Within the project management community, the concept of governance is seen as a fundamental project control, which is easy to grasp in principle. Getting the governance piece right requires insight and at times a few honest conversations about roles and responsibilities. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon that I see projects with one of the following dysfunctions in the governance area: It’s unclear to the project manager who the sponsor is.

Principles of Cost and Schedule Estimating

Herding Cats

One of the 4 summary root causes of project performance failures is Unrealistic Cost and Schedule Estimates based on inadequate risk-adjusted growth models. Those making these claims may have their own personal purposes, their own agenda, their own reasons for sell this idea that estimates are somehow no longer needed when we're spending other people's money to produce value in exchange for that money. One notion in a governance paradigm is It's Not Your Money .

System of Delivery: An Intro to Our Governance Model

Leading Agile

Our governance model and team design may look a little complicated at first glance. In this presentation, our Chief Methodologist, Dennis Stevens will remove the noise and walk you through our governance model and team design to help you better understand the LeadingAgile system of delivery. When you first look at our governance model or some of our team designs, it might look complicated, it might look really busy. The governance model makes that actionable.

Reasons to Estimate and Measure

Herding Cats

Estimating Software-Intensive Systems: Project, Products, and Processes , Richard D. Stutzke is a starting point for estimating software projects. I recommend it for anyone starting out in the estimating business all the way to seasoned veterans. Any estimating process requires discipline and repeatability to produce accurate and precise results. The estimate can also be produced parametrically, empirically, or through a modeling and simulation.

Reality of the Value of Estimating

Herding Cats

Avoid software project horror stories - check the reality value of the estimate first from Harold van Heeringen. NoEstimates Estimating Governance

When to Estimate and When Estimates aren't Needed

Herding Cats

Paul Boos has a post about estimating and makes a case for the Principles of when NOT to estimate. This struck a cord around a bigger topic - the inversion of estimating. When should we NOT estimate? What business decision making conditions could be in place where we don't have to estimate the outcomes of our decision in the presence of uncertainty? Then on to the original conjecture for No Estimates from Paul's post. Not principles for NOT estimating.

4 Fallacious Reasons to Estimate and Why Those Are Fallacious

Herding Cats

There's a recent post titled Four Fallacious Reasons to Estimate. It lists the usual suspects for why those spending the money think they don't have to estimate how much they plan to spend when they'll be done producing the value they've been assigned to produce for that expenditure. And like many posts and tweets about estimating, it's made from this point of view, not the business point view, not from the point of view of those paying the developer.

Closed Loop Control and Granularity of the Estimating Process

Herding Cats

The estimate of Desired (or even contractual ) schedule, cost, or technical performance of the software project. The granularity of these estimates determining the dynamic behavior of the system ‒ the software project. When we hear the question at what level of an agile project do we estimate – Vision, Theme, Release, Feature, Story, or even Task ‒ the first question is again ­. NoEstimates Estimating Governance Mathematics Planning Principles

Estimating on Non-Trivial Software Projects

Herding Cats

A nice conversation on twitter about estimates on software brought up the topic of estimates as commitments. The #NoEstimates advocates see estimates as making commitments. Yes, commitments are made when we estimate. I have an 80% confidence (an estimate) I can deliver what you need on or before September 15 (an estimate), at or below $15,000.oo (an estimate) with a 15% error band (an estimate). . Estimates are not needed.

How to Estimate Any Software Problem

Herding Cats

ways to make decisions with No Estimates. can we make a decision in the presence of Uncertainty without making an estimate of the impact or outcome of that decision? What would be the evidence that we could make decisions in the presence of uncertanty without estimating the impacts and outcomes of those decisions? . The Myths of No Estimates and the busting of them is one purpose of this blog post. Before we start, let's look with the notion of estimation.

GAO Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide Applied to Agile

Herding Cats

The GAO Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide has 12 steps. Agile Capabilities Decision Making Estimating Governance Management Performance-Based Project Management® Project Management Requirements Risk Root Cause Analysis SchedulingThese describe the increasing maturity of the project's artifacts. There are not specific to Agile Software Development. But here's how they are connected. Step . Agile. Capture All Activities.

Behavioural Economics, Estimating, and Decision Making in Presence of Uncertainty

Herding Cats

The behavioral aspects of these decisions involve individuals, organizations, processes, procedures, and governance principles. . You're NOT going to increase the probability of success in the presence of uncertainty without making estimates of the aleatory and epistemic uncertainties the create project risk. Anyone telling you that you can make an informed and credible decision while spending other people's money without making estimates is selling you a pig in a pok e.†. †

A Brief Introduction to Project Portfolio Governance

Brightwork

A director of information services in one organization estimated that his department had 20 projects in flight. Situations like this are quite common in project management, making strong project portfolio governance essential. The rest of this blog will explore the importance of project portfolio governance in an organization, including a few ways a tool like BrightWork can help! What is Project Portfolio Governance?

Project Failure – Why it Happens

Online PM Courses

– 2 – Governance. Governance is hardly the most sexy of project management disciplines. Good governance is a cornerstone of project success, so poor governance inevitably leads to project failure. Good governance is a cornerstone of #project success, so poor governance inevitably leads to project failure. Lack of Governance Structure. But you fail to set up the governance structure your project needs to assure its success.

2018 152

The Pseudo Science of No Estimates

Herding Cats

estimates are the smell of dysfunction, so let's not estimate and the dysfunction will disappear." Because "we're just developers who can't even make high level estimates how much it will cost and we work for bonehead managers who can't tell the difference between a good estimate and a bad estimate," doesn't have the same ring. This comes to the discussion of Value at Risk and what are estimates for other than to protect Value at Risk.

2016 35

A Compendium of Works to Increase the Probability of Project Success

Herding Cats

Project Governance. Agile Software Development for Government Software Intensive System of Systems (SISoS) , Boulder Agile Meetup, 27 July 2016. How to Develop Credible Cost & Schedule Estimate. Estimating and Reporting Agile Projects using the SRDR and Earned Value Management , PSM Users Group 2017, 12-16 June 2017, Crystal City, VA. Estimating and Reporting Physical Percent Complete on Agile Projects , DHS Cost Analysis Stakeholder Working Group, June 26, 2017.

2003 45

Compendium of Works to Increase Probability of Project Success

Herding Cats

Governance (#Governance). Six Business System Rule - defines the assessment of the integrated business systems for Federal procurement and their integrity in providing information to the Government contracting office. . Managing Government Grant Projects at Arizona Public Service - APS management process for Department of Energy grant for algae CO2 capture project. The starting point is understanding what processes make up the discipline of estimating.

2003 35

Impacts of traditional project funding models on agile delivery

Kiron Bondale

The challenge with all of these funding approaches is that they are based on an estimated cost of a project rather than the funding we wish to allocate to a product, capability or service. Even in those cases where a funding tranche approach is used, the expectation is that the estimate for the current funding request will be at a high level of confidence. Agile Project Portfolio Management agile project management Change management governance

2018 153

Cost and Value Management for Software Development

Herding Cats

Since each of these elements operates in the presences of reducible (Epistemic) and irreducible (Aleatory) uncertainties, estimates are needed to make any credible decisions. . Software Project Cost Estimation . But no matter the source there are two primary root causes of project cost problems: Erroneous cost estimates. Estimating project cost is a critical success factor for addressing these sources of proejct overrums.

2018 49

How good are you at starting off your project?

Ron Rosenhead

I came across an interesting report published by the National Audit Office (NAO) – which exists to provide independent opinion and evidence to assist Parliament and hold government to account. our examination of central government projects repeatedly shows that too few projects bring all of these factors together well.”. Scope is not clear and while initial capital costs are identified (often with over optimistic estimates) post project running costs are frequently ignored.

2015 159

Can You Make a Decision in Presence of Uncertainty Without Estimating?

Herding Cats

They started with “Estimates are a waste, stop doing them.” Those advocates also started with the notion that estimates are a waste for the developers. The size of the “value at risk” is also the starting point for estimates. If the project is small (de minimis) meaning if we over run significantly no one cares, then estimating is likely a waste as well. Next comes an original post from Woody – “you can make decisions with No Estimates.”

2016 40

Increasing the Probability of Project Success

Herding Cats

How to Avoid the "Yesterday's Weather" Estimating Problem. Capabilities Earned Value Estimating Governance Management Performance-Based Project Management® Principles Requirements Risk Root Cause Analysis Technical Performance MeasuresIncreasing the Probability of Project Success Simple in Theory, Complex in Practice. When we hear any suggestion about improving the probability of success of a project, there are some simple tests to confirm there actually is such a thing.

2017 69

Reading List for the Cone of Uncertainty

Herding Cats

The primary purpose of software estimation is not to predict a project’s outcome; it is to determine whether a project’s targets are realistic enough to allow the project to be controlled to meet them ? The beginning of all business critical software development projects is the point in time when performing organizations are least certain about the project, yet it is also the time when top management expects to be delivered project estimates that are very precise.

2012 41

The Seven Deadly Sins of Project Management

Herding Cats

With some posts this week on tweeter about not needed project management or estimates to be the market leader (without says the market leader in what market), I thought it'd be good to revisit Mike's original post. Why Guessing is not Estimating and Estimating is not Guessing. NoEstimates Agile Business Decision Making Estimating Governance Management Performance-Based Project Management® Planning Principles Project Management Requirements Root Cause Analysis Scheduling

Project Versus Product in Agile Development

Herding Cats

So before listening to any conjecture about how agile should be done or not done - establish a context, a domain, a business and technical process, the external and internal business, technical, and financial governance process. Agile Business Decision Making Deliverables Based Planning(r) Estimating Fallacy of the Week Governance Government Management Planning Principles Product Management Project Management Requirements Scheduling Technical Performance Measures

2018 38

Agile for Project Managers

Herding Cats

NoEstimates Agile Estimating Governance Management Project ManagementI rarely republish other blogs or presentations. But this one is timeless and needs to be restated at every opportunity. I've corresponded with John over the years. Here's the presentation. . As well but John's books. Here's the one we use weekly Project Management the Agile Way: Making it Work in the Enterprise. .

Agile 32

DDSTOP The Saga Continues

Herding Cats

We were one of the first users of eXtreme Programming, long before Scrum was around and presented that early work in 2003, " Making Agile Development Work in a Government Contracting Environment, Measuring velocity with Earned Value." . 40 - Estimation is a Problematic Practice of Companies Doing Dangerous Things. A #Noestimates advocate makes the claim that having a ±10% accuracy for estimates of cost and duration is a dangerous thing. link] Cost Estimating Tools.

Quote of the Day

Herding Cats

To make sensible decisions, in the presence of uncertainty - reducible and irreducible - we need to estimate the probability that the decision will be the right decision. The world as it will be requires estimating the future using a variety of means. NoEstimates Decision Making Estimating Governance IMP/IMS Management Mathematics Performance-Based Project Management® Planning Principles Quotes Risk Scheduling

The #NoEstimates Paradigm and Response

Herding Cats

This is a good starting point for answering the mail on the notion that decisions can be made in the presence of uncertainty without estimating the impact of those decisions. There is no sure basis of credibilityy for the No Estimates conjecture that decision can be made in the presence of uncertainty without first estimating the impact of the decision. . But his conjecture starts with estimates are a waste , not saying for whom they are a waste for.

2016 49

DDSTOP The Saga Continues

Herding Cats

We were one of the first users of eXtreme Programming, long before Scrum was around and presented that early work in 2003, " Making Agile Development Work in a Government Contracting Environment, Measuring velocity with Earned Value." . Yet another class #NoEstimates lack of understanding of estimating, reference class forecasting, reference class databases, parametric estimating, estimating tools, and other well established estimating processes in the agile software development world.

Deconstructing the Hertz and Accenture Debacle

Herding Cats

A recent lawsuit by Hertz Rental Car against Accenture has turned into a rallying cry by Agilest and No Estimates advocates. We play this role in ERP acquisitions for commercial and government clients . A mentor taught me a nice phrase when we were helping a large government nuclear and conventional power general agency acquire large document management and design system (about the same dollar size as this). Estimates of Cost, Schedule, and Technical Performance compliance.