Getting good estimates is often challenging for projects. Here are 5 tips for getting better estimates for difficult-to-estimate tasks:
- Decompose the work further to understand it more fully. Document all assumptions and constraints.
- Look for similar estimates provided for past projects—network with other projects or organizations willing to share their experience and expertise.
- 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).
- 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).
- Independently apply multiple estimating techniques; validate bottom-up estimates with top-down and vice versa.
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