Some Best Practices for Estimation

Here are a couple of things that have helped improved estimates:

  1. The best estimates come from the people who are doing the work:  if their estimate is too high they probably don’t understand the scope or charter of the work.  Now is the time to get with them and get this straightened out.
  2. Estimate by deliverable, not by percentage of time someone will be working on the project.  Estimating by deliverable causes you to flush out the SOW and clarify the work.  It will also help you manage your spend as your estimates are more granular.
  3. ID all the tasks that need to be done.  This should be delegated to the team that is doing the work because, work you don’t do yourself always seems easier.
  4. Estimates should be reviewed by the team.  After all they are doing the work.
  5. Final estimates should be sent to the team as a reminder of what was agreed to.
  6.  Then most importantly manage to the estimate.
  7. The longer the duration of a project, the more it costs even if you aren’t “doing anything.”