The traditional method for estimating project work using single-point (or fixed) estimates has a few drawbacks:
- It’s hard to provide a single accurate estimate, especially for something new.
- People tend to provide estimates that are too optimistic because they don’t want to let you down.
As a project manager, you’re probably familiar with the result: you can’t see or manage uncertainty in your project schedules, so you end up missing the deadlines you thought were realistic. Tired of it? So were we.
Ranged estimation is one of the core features of Planning Intelligence in LiquidPlanner. It allows you to see the uncertainty in your schedule and use it to your advantage. Instead of guessing whether your fixed estimates are accurate and worrying about the impacts of missing a deadline, track the best case and worst case outcomes at every level of your project and make adjustments to your resources and priorities as your uncertainty changes. The scheduling engine even provides you with Expected Finish Dates statistically calculated based on your inputs so that you can set confident deadlines.
Wondering how to manage uncertainty using ranged estimation? This video shows you how.
There can be a lot of uncertainty around the work we do, particularly when it comes to questions about how long that work is going to take. LiquidPlanner uses simple best case – worst case estimates to capture this variability and build it into your schedule.
Tasks need to be estimated in order for projects to have an accurate timeline. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when working with estimates:
- First, they represent your effort, not task duration, so think about it as the amount of time it would take if you sat down and worked on a task from start to finish.
- Next, apply what you know. The best case is how long it will take if everything goes your way. The worst is what could happen if it does not. Use a wider range if you don’t know the full scope of work, or it’s something you’ve never tried before.
- Keep estimates up-to-date – as you learn more about a task your uncertainty may increase or decrease and you can always adjust accordingly.
When the schedule is calculated, uncertainty rolls-up to the project and portfolio levels as well. As a project manager, you can monitor uncertain hours and help team members to build better estimates by getting them the information they need and removing obstacles wherever you can.
Want to learn more? Check out our Academy for additional lessons and content. See you next time!