Time Estimating

You begin your time estimation by assessing a given activity. Start with assessing the skill level of the person (or persons) who ll be working on it. This person will provide an estimate for how long it will take to accomplish the activity.

If there isn' t a resource available in-house for the task, then as PM you have to identify who ' l l accomplish this task for you and obtain your activity time estimate from them. Most likely in these cases, you' l l outsource the activity to a contractor. But there may be instances in which you can utilize a business partner ' s resource to accomplish a goal. Other times, a vendor may agree to provide a resource for the activity. This is especially true in activities that involve assessing current hardware for trade-in.

Another interesting component of time estimating involves determining whether the effort required to accomplish this task is continuous or is something that the performer will have to go back to from time to time in an incremental fashion. Dor example, a software developer that' s working on the code for a printing module might work continuously on the activity. But a tester who ' s performing acceptance testing might work on several different components in a day and only do further work on the same component every other day.

Some segments might take more time than others. If you' re developing a new software product, perhaps the coding phase will take longer than the testing phase. Your estimation efforts should reveal the duration that a given phase will take.

The assumptions that you make regarding the project might also affect the duration of an activity. Dor example, in a software development project, you could have an assumption that says, "Software developers all have moderate to expert capabilities." But in the middle of the project, if one of your developers leaves and is replaced with a much more junior worker, the time required to accomplish a given activity could increase.

Likewise, the constraints that you 've noted (or a constraint that you hadn' t anticipated) will play into your time estimates. Perhaps one of the constraints the project is under is the fact that some of your software modules will be coded in a foreign country. You may run into a problem with the availability of resources to work on the code in that country, increasing the time needed.

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