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Project Portfolio Management

Tips 6-10 for Better Project Estimates

Published By Martha Garcia

In my blog post, 10 Tips for Better Project Estimates, I introduced the white paper by best-selling business author, Jerry Manas, titled Bigger Than a Breadbox: 10 Tips for Better Project Estimates — Part I, which outlines five out of 10 suggestions project managers should consider when estimating projects. Effective estimating drives project success, better resource planning, and portfolio alignment. Without it, impacts can extend far beyond the task or project and can affect the entire portfolio, resulting in misuse of organizational resources. As a quick recap, Part I outlines helpful tips around:

  1. Estimation methods and timing considerations (Accuracy versus timing)
  2. Bigger Than a Breadbox: 10 Tips for Better Project EstimatesAddressing risk during planning (Managing uncertainty — traditional and agile approaches)
  3. Estimating mega-projects (Capital considerations)
  4. Special considerations for Agile (Different methodologies to employ in creating estimates)
  5. Resource management issues (Contributor estimates, earned value, and earned schedule)

The latest white paper rounds out tips 6 through 10:

  1. Planning for resources (Ensure resource availability)
  2. Estimates that mitigate risk (Include management reserve and contingency reserve)
  3. The mega-project (Have a separate project for estimating mega-projects)
  4. Using multi-point estimates (Consider multi-point estimates based on risk)
  5. When bad things happen anyway (and they do) (Don’t forget the other reasons projects are late)

I encourage you to read both Part I and Part II to determine where your organization can make improvements. Get your copy of Bigger Than a Breadbox: 10 Tips for Better Project Estimates — Part II and access a complete summary of tips on page 6.

I’d like to hear from you! After reading the papers and/or summary, let me know if the tips were helpful or if you have any tips of your own to share with your peers.

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Written by Martha Garcia

Martha Garcia graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a BS in Communication Studies. It was here that she developed an interest in corporate communication, specifically in the areas of change management within complex organizations as well as leadership and organizational behavior. Martha is responsible for working closely with thought leaders in the areas of IT and the PMO to develop compelling programs and content including informative webcasts and white papers for the IT PMO community.