Project Estimation: Master the Tools and Techniques

Online PM Courses

There are two reasons why Project Estimation is a big deal for project managers. And second, poor estimates are often a primary reason for a project cost or schedule over-run. So, in this article, we’ll take a careful look at project estimation, to help you learn how to master the art and craft of doing it well. What is Project Estimation? Why is Project Estimation so hard? The Estimation Knife Edge. Methods and Tools for Project Estimation.

Reference Class Forecasting

Herding Cats

Talking with the moving van owner, he started telling stories about estimating the load in pounds. The agent makes the first estimate of the weight of the load, issues a quote for the cost of the move. The quality of the estimate depends on the skill and experience of the estimator. The reference class estimating process is part of that skill and experience. I relistened to Agile for Humans podcast with Steve McConnell about estimating.

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Project Estimation Techniques Everyone Needs To Know

Wrike

Project estimation techniques help project managers accurately estimate essential elements, such as cost and scope , within their projects. What are project estimation techniques? An estimate is a rough calculation of something. Why are project estimates important?

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.

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.

RBS is one more technique for your estimation tool belt!

Kiron Bondale

Project managers need to be comfortable with different estimation techniques. Foundational project management courses will teach you about analogous, bottom-up, parametric and three-point estimating. Take a course covering agile delivery and you’ll learn about relative sizing techniques such as estimating poker or t-shirt sizing. Estimate the size or effort of that story or work package.

Why Johnny Can't Estimate?

Herding Cats

Since all risk comes from uncertainty - reducible (Epistemic) and irreducible (Aleatory), estimating is a foundation of all we do. There is no discussion of the conjecture that estimates are a waste, estimates can't be done, estimates are evil, estimates must be stopped immediately. To be informed how to estimate in this broad range of domains, problems, and impacts - education, exp[erience, and skill are needed. Gow to avoid common estimating mistakes.

The Ultimate Guide to Estimating Projects: How to use time tracking (and experience) to set better estimates

Planio

Despite our best intentions, human beings are terrible at estimating how long a project or task will take to complete. Most major project management issues can be traced back to poor time estimates. Poor estimating. Poor estimating. You guessed it, poor estimating.

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. And the same process is applied to the Scrum development processes on those projects. .

Why Johnny Can't Estimate? (Update)

Herding Cats

There is a discussion of the conjecture that estimates are a waste, estimates can't be done, estimates are evil, estimates must be stopped immediately. To be informed how to estimate in this broad range of domains, problems, and impacts — education, experience, and skill are needed. Through this education process and the hands-on experiences that followed, we all learned an Immutable Principle. Generating accurate and precise estimates is straightforward.

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. If you have no uncertainty, then estimates provide no value.

10 Point Checklist for Better Project Estimates

Planview

The following content is based on the whitepaper, “Bigger Than a Breadbox: 10 Tips for Better Project Estimates, Part 2,” written by Jerry Manas. From all the previous six parts of this series, it should be clear that effective estimation is a primary driver of project success, resource planning, and portfolio alignment. Part 1: Improve Project Estimates and Escape Crisis Mode. Use Horizon-Based Estimates. Part 2: Improving Project Estimates is all About Direction.

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.

How To Create A Simple Project Plan (Project Planning Process)

PM Basics

Nevertheless, project planning is a structured and logical process. At each moment of the process, you’re in need of information that you don’t have yet. Most of the processes are interrelated, and you don’t know where to start from. You use outputs from the previous steps in the next step in the process. You need to evaluate each process. Here, I focus on project planning process only. It’s more important that you understand the process.

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.

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. Just for the reference, . Just for the reference, a commitment is the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc. But that's got NOTHING to do with the need for the estimate and EVERYTHING to do with bad management.

The Five Laws of Software Estimating are Wrong

Herding Cats

There's a blog post from a few years back that has resurfaced The 5 Laws of Software Estimates. Law of Software Estimating. Fact of Software Estimating. Estimates are waste. To those paying the developers, estimates provide actionable information needed to make decisions: Can we afford to develop this feature? Estimates are non-transferrable . Its claimed Software estimates are not fungible. This is basic business process improvement.

GAO Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide Applied to Agile

Herding Cats

The GAO Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide has 12 steps. Risk Management has 6 processes, see SEI Continuous Risk Management. Maintain the Baseline with Repeatable Processes. Agile encourages change, but those changes must be recorded so a reference class can be built of time. Agile Capabilities Decision Making Estimating Governance Management Performance-Based Project Management® Project Management Requirements Risk Root Cause Analysis Scheduling

12 Principles of Agile with and without Estimates

Herding Cats

When we hear that the next big thing in agile is Not Estimating, let's look to see how those 12 Principles can be applied without those estimates? . How estimates help implement these principles. Without estimates what is missing. Without estimating the delivered value to the business for the estimated cost and time to delivery that value, the balance sheet will be wholly uninformed about when the breakeven date for this expenditure. Yes, good process.

Ten Ways to Solve Dysfunctional Communication Processes

Ganttic

Communication is the life force of each and every project and business so it needs to be fully effective to enrich the process. A dysfunctional communication process will undermine what you are trying to achieve. This is a guest post by Michelle Gillam.

Creating a Risk-Adjusted Backlog

Leading Answers

While profit is not their goal, usually an economic impact figure can be estimated for the outcomes they aim to achieve. If we were following the PMI risk management process, this would involve the qualitative and quantitative risk management steps.

2021 78

Forecasting versus Estimating - are they Different or are they the Same

Herding Cats

One of the escape clauses of #Noestimates is to re-label Forecasting as NOT Estimating , It is forecasting, based on empirical data. This is in comparison for estimating purpose for a theoretical model that produces data, parametric from empirical or theoretical models that produce data. In all cases the data is used to estimate some outcome in the past, present, or future. When that estimate is about the future, it can also be referred to as a Forecast.

2016 34

New PM: The What?, Why?, and How? of Project Charters

Leading Answers

To start the chartering process, we first need to understand a few things about the project goals and our internal processes. For our organization, we must understand any strategic plans we need to align with, our standards and processes, contracts to use, and any relevant external factors like market conditions and industry standards. It may reference a separate business case or return on investment analysis. Creating a great project charter is an art and a science.

2019 78

Project Management, Performance Measures, and Statistical Decision Making

Herding Cats

I work in the Software Intensive System of Systems domains in Aerospace, Defense, Enterprise IT (both commercial and government) applying Agile, Earned Value Management, Productive Statistical Estimating (both parametric and Monte Carlo), Risk Management, and Root Cause Analysis with a variety of capabilities. In this domain, we are guided by credible results using principles, processes, and procedures to increase the probability of program success. References below. .

DDSTOP The Saga Continues

Herding Cats

The result was a safety stand down for everyone on the site (5,000 Steel Works), including all us office workers, to get the message about health, safety, and safeguards of the materials and processes on site. . I'm reminded of that when I hear suggested processes - in less threatening environments - like those here listed from latest to earliest, mostly from #NoEstimates advocates, but there are others. 40 - Estimation is a Problematic Practice of Companies Doing Dangerous Things.

DDSTOP The Saga Continues

Herding Cats

The result was a safety stand down for everyone on the site (5,000 Steel Works), including all us office workers, to get the message about health, safety, and safeguards of the materials and processes on site. . I'm reminded of that when I hear suggested processes - in less threatening environments - like those here listed from latest to earliest, mostly from #NoEstimates advocates, but there are others. Where do you find these Reference Classes ? . By simply NOT Estimating?

6 Practical Ways to Actually Improve Your Cost Management

Project Risk Coach

When John asked the project sponsor how the $100,000 was estimated, but he never got a clear answer. His early estimate — an analogous estimate — was $125,000 with a range of accuracy between -25 percent to +50 percent. John shared the estimate with the sponsor and said that he would provide a more detailed estimate after completing a work breakdown structure (WBS) with the project team. Ask for estimates from the people doing the work.

2017 210

#Noestimates Has Come to This

Herding Cats

So the first part is following standard estimating principles. which states clearly and concisely that decisions can be made (in the presence of uncertainty - which is ALWAYS present on software development projects - without estimating the impact of those decisions. So let's look at this manifesto : Probabilistic over Deterministic - there is no deterministic process in software development. Does that mean we don't need estimating? . No Estimates?

What Are Story Points and How They Be Used on Agile Projects?

Herding Cats

This paradigm is at the core of any business process of developing software. Story points are a unit of measure for expressing an estimate of the overall effort that will be required to fully implement a product backlog item or any other piece of work. When we estimate with story points, we assign a point value to each item. It should also be two-thirds of a story that is estimated as 3 story points. Quickly estimate issues. NoEstimates Agile Estimating

2019 34

4 Reasons to Have a Professional Services Management Template

Wrike

In their article, they reference the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) 2016 Pulse of the Profession report, which states that out of every $1 billion invested in projects, $122 million is wasted due to poor execution. Your team needs processes that empower members to be project management experts effortlessly. And since you’ll use your template again and again, you can refine your work intake process and project timelines over time, optimizing your work without any extra effort.

2027 50

Start with Principles, Not Personal Anecdotes

Herding Cats

I've seen estimates abused by bad managers, so let's NOT estimate and that will fix the behavior of Bad Managers." The "bad management" is itself a symptom of untrained, inexperienced, unskilled decision making processes in the presence of uncertainty. . While the human behaviors are real and observable, conjecturing that decisions can be made in the presence of uncertainty without estimating the outcome of those decisions, there is no principle to support that conjecture.

2018 39

Quote of the Day

Herding Cats

There are databases, reference class databases, parametric models, functional point analysis processes - all used to estimate to cost of IT projects. NoEstimates Estimating QuotesIf we can compute probability on a satellite that’s never flown before, we can compute project success in IT - Douglas Hubbard. IT does have a repeatable history, and if you’re not willing to include that in your analysis, you may as well just flip a coin.

2018 33

DDSTOP The Saga Continues

Herding Cats

The result was a safety stand down for everyone on the site (5,000 Steel Works), including all us office workers, to get the message about health, safety, and safeguards of the materials and processes on site. . I'm reminded of that when I hear suggested processes - in less threatening environments - like those here listed from latest to earliest, mostly from #NoEstimates advocates, but there are others. And, my customer is equally as clueless about the need to estimate as I am.

The Complete Glossary of 614 Project Management Terms

Workamajig

Bookmark this project management glossary and refer to it whenever you come across any project management jargon. Acceptance Test: A process through which a project's end users run through the project to identify any potential issues before it can be formally accepted.

2021 78

A Wrap Up of the #NoEstimating Conjecture Analysis to Date

Herding Cats

The conjecture that we can make decisions in the presence of uncertainty without estimating the impacts of those decisions is without any principles that can be tested beyond personal anecdotes of I know people who spend other peoples money without providing estimates. Here's some reading to help understand why its bunk and how to learn to estimate in the presence of uncertainty in order to make better decisions. Software Estimating Taxonomy. Estimating Accuracy.

2016 35

Compendium of Works to Increase Probability of Project Success

Herding Cats

Management Processes (#MP). While many of the presentations have similar titles, the content is focused on a specific set of processes and practices, while the principles are the same, since they are Immutable. . Management Processes. Managing Government Grant Projects at Arizona Public Service - APS management process for Department of Energy grant for algae CO2 capture project. Making a Seamless Transition Between Vendors, Systems, and Processes.

2003 37

Managing Uncertainty, Risk, Threat, and Opportunity

Herding Cats

Success in the presence of uncertainty requires a process be followed. Stage in the Decision Process. Appropriate frame of reference, scope of relevant organization activities who is involved, who should be involved, extent of separation from other decision issues. In order to make decisions in presence of uncertainty, we need to estimate all the partially elements of the decision process. Withoitn these estimates thetre is no Risk Management.

Risk 41

Monte Carlo Simulation

Herding Cats

Estimation is part of project management. . The most important estimates for the project manager are related to time and cost. . Since it is easier to estimate small tasks, these estimates are often calculated and performed as point estimates, for example, a task will take 3 days. Or perhaps as an estimate with two-point ranges. Each work activity in a discrete model will have an estimated duration - a scalar number, usually measured in days.

2018 38

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. This approach is guided by the processes for Root Cause Analysis on Software Intensive System of Systems project I've worked. Were they based on the established planning processes for complex Software Intensive System of Systems? Good acquisition starts with understanding the business process for acquiring a solution.

Managing in Presence of Uncertainty

Herding Cats

The uncertainty is always there, it doesn't go away with specific actions in specific domains, or with the use of any tools, processes, or practices. If we're going to successfully manage project work in the presence of this uncertainty, we need a framework in which we can make decisions based on the underlying probabilistic and statistical processes that create the uncertainties. This knowledge can be used to assess and re-estimate the effort required to complete the project.