Estimating Durations for Tasks Activities and Phases

You should put some effort into elucidating the various tasks, activities, and phases in your project, taking time to carefully evaluate the subcomponents of each and bring each down to its lowest common denominator. Though this is a loose analogy, a database administrator might say you' re "normalizing" the data—the "data" in this case being the duration of the activities.

Now you must take some time to estimate how long each of these segments is going to take. Once you know their durations, then you have a really solid idea about how long the project is going to take, and you have also identified the critical path.

There are two different estimating methods that you can pick from: time estimating and cost estimating. Each involves a slightly different approach and results in a different useful outcome. You use time estimating methods to estimate how long your project' s going to take; you use cost estimating methods to figure out how much your project' s going to cost. Let' s look at how we perform time estimating.

Tip There s more about cost estimating methods later in this chapter, in the section on budgeting.

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