Some estimation Best Practices

Play with numbers was something I always liked, so estimation is an activity that awakened my interest.

The rules to play are the best practices and common sense.

1.- A solid plan for developing the estimate, you need to have an strategy about what you are going to estimate and what you need to deliver, doing an initial tailoring assesment:

  • Which level of accuracy do we need?
  • Can I deliver this level of accuracy with the information we have?
  • What are the expectations of your steering comitee and your client…

2.- You have an approved WBS with confidence that is clear, makes sense, and has the enough details: good start!

WBS is primary factor, it requires a vision of how the work will be done, this vision leads to the WBS which defines the work to be performed.

3.- Good Inputs :

  • Ways to quantify — # of process threads, programs, workshops, # of types of activities…
  • Prior Estimates — don’t reinvent the wheel!!
  • Look at learned lessons,

4.- You need resources and reviewers who are skilled in estimating, yes skilled in estimating.

  • Project Manager, or estimator who acts as mentor and coach to their estimating team. She works with the SMEs to define their WBS, drivers, resources, and estimate.
  • SMEs who can envision “how the work needs to be done”. They have to know the product lyfe cycle.

5.- A tool for estimating, all companies have one. Never start with a blank template.

6.-Sufficient Time to the Estimate: estimation is an iterative process and you need time.

7.- Capture Assumptions,

  • All the time you decide that some task is estimated by a reason, take a note of the reason, you are going to forget it and later you will have doubts.
  • These notes will help to reviewers to understand why something take 30 hours instead 20.

8.-Multiple Reviews: four eyes see more than two!!

  • Proposal Team,
  • Sales Team,
  • Delivery Assurance,
  • Peer to peer review…..

There are more tips, these are just some of them.

Have a good day!

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