• On schedule Activities are typically completed on schedule or later, but rarely early. Users that have bloated the activity duration estimates may finish their task ahead of when they promised, but they have a tendency to hold on to those results until the activity's due date. This is because workers aren't usually rewarded for completing work early. In addition, workers don't want to reveal the inaccuracies in their time estimates. Workers may believe future estimates may be based on actual work durations rather than estimates, so they'll "sandbag" the results to protect themselves—and finish "on schedule."

So what's a project manager to do? First off, the project manager should strive to incorporate historical information and expert judgment to predicate accurate estimates. Second, the project manager should stress a genuine need for accurate duration estimates. Finally, the project manager can incorporate a reserve time.

A reserve time is a percentage of the project duration or a preset number of work periods, and is usually added to the end of the project schedule. Reserve time may also be added to individual activity durations based on risk or uncertainty in the activity duration. When activities are completed late, the additional time for the activity is subtracted from the reserve time. As the project moves forward, the reserve time can be reduced or eliminated as the project manager sees fit. Reserve time decisions should be documented.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

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.

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