Easy Steps for Effective estimations

Estimation is one of the foundation stones for any project success. Over Estimation or Underestimation will make or break the project. It is human nature to deliver a project within a short span of duration. However, underestimating a Project is like an eternal swirl in a river.

Hence in the best interest of the project following are some of the steps for better estimation

1. Estimation is an ongoing process that happens regularly throughout the project. In the initial stage, a high-level estimate is required to determine the feasibility of a project. However, the detailed estimate provided after a detailed analysis is done for a better understanding of the requirement.

2. During the initiation phase, when the users communicate requirements, perform detailed analyze all essential elements, break the effort into manageable pieces. During the session, discuss the requirements and propose various solutions in detail with various stakeholders and get acceptance on the deliverables and hence estimate.

3. Involve subject matter experts during the analysis and estimation process and get a different perspective and get estimates from them. This activity gives an idea of the variation of efforts and reasons for variation of numbers.

4. All estimates carry a certain degree of uncertainty, during the early stages of the project where there are more unknowns. It is crucial to quantify the percentage of unknowns in estimates and compensate with an equivalent level of efforts need to address the risk.

5. Be pragmatic and realistic in providing estimates and ask people to provide optimistic, most likely, and pessimistic Efforts. This way, efforts do not only cover “Happy scenarios”.

6. Efforts should cover entire project phases and activities of the project, including Requirement Gathering, Solution designing, building, QA, Integration and performance testing, User acceptance testing, deployment, and after Go-live support.

7. Add a contingency to the estimate to cater to events where one cannot foresee, such as unexpected changes in the proposed solution or vendor or to add an expensive resource.

8. Last but not least, provide details on how the efforts arrived along with the assumption made for the estimation. This enables the customer to validate the assumptions and efforts.

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