Management reserve is a topic associated with activity duration estimates, but it more appropriately belongs in this chapter because it should be a property of the project network more so than of the individual activities.
At the individual activity level, we are tempted to pad our estimates to have a better chance of finishing an activity on schedule. For example, we know that a particular activity will require three days of our time to complete, but we submit an estimate of four days just to make sure we can get the three days of work done in the four-day schedule we hope to get for the activity. The one day that we added is padding. First, let's agree that you will not do this. Parkinson's Law (which states that work will expand to the time slotted to complete it) will surely strike you down, and the activity will, in fact, require the four days you estimated it would take. Stick with the three-day estimate and work to make it happen. That is a better strategy. Now that we know padding is bad at the activity level, we are going to apparently contradict ourselves by saying that it is all right at the project level. There are some very good reasons for this.
Original Critical Path
Was this article helpful?
What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.