5 Tips for Handling Difficult to Estimate Tasks

cost management schedule management Aug 04, 2019
5 Tips for Handling Difficult to Estimate Tasks

Getting good estimates is often challenging for projects.  Here are 5 tips for getting better estimates for difficult-to-estimate tasks:

  1. Decompose the work further to understand it more fully. Document all assumptions and constraints.
  2. Look for similar estimates provided for past projects—network with other projects or organizations willing to share their experience and expertise.
  3. Do some further investigative work or prototyping while the rest of planning moves forward (Agile calls this a "spike' but waterfall projects valued it for decades before).
  4. Use PERT estimation - it can mathematically provide range and statistically answer "what if" questions about confidence in them (e.g., what are our chances of success with x-y range).
  5. Independently apply multiple estimating techniques; validate bottom-up estimates with top-down and vice versa.

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