People attending a recent project management workshop suggested that they needed some help estimating. I probed just that bit deeper and discovered that many people were working on what I would call ‘repeat projects.’ They are repeating a project that was done say last year or an element of a project.
This led me to ask (knowing the answer) whether the organisation kept a list or directory of times that tasks take. The body language of those on our project management courses was very interesting….it screamed “of course we don’t.”
I also asked whether at project closure estimates of times within the project plan are reviewed for accuracy. I got the same reaction
If companies want to deliver projects effectively then they need to be able to take as many short cuts as possible. By this I mean having to hand a list of agreed estimates (or ranges of estimates) that will help those who have little or no project management experience or even the experienced project manager.
Now I am not suggesting that these become the minimum times more a range that can be used in putting the plan together. As someone suggested, “project management is like a game of golf – be realistic and reconsider your plan after every shot.” Estimates are no different.
Finally, yes we do include how to estimate on our project management training courses however a lot of anxieties could be allayed if companies kept records of times for projects or stages or activities.