Back up Your Estimates with a Full Estimating Packet

Sunday, July 31, 2016, 6:00 AM | Leave Comment

After you have completed planning, you should have completed your estimates for effort, cost and duration, you need to defend it if the sponsor thinks that the numbers are too high.

It is important that these estimates be accepted since they form the basis of your schedule and budget.

Back up Your Estimates with a Full Estimating Packet

You should be able to defend the estimate by providing an “estimating packet”.

This includes:

  • Your understanding of the work

  • The estimating techniques you used

  • Your estimate of the effort hours, duration and cost

  • The detailed estimating information in case the sponsor would like to review

  • Your estimating assumptions

  • The level of uncertainty as reflected in the estimating range

If the sponsor still thinks the numbers are too high, or cannot afford the solution at that cost, there are a few alternative options.

  • Determine if the client has any additional information that would allow you to revise your assumptions and perhaps revise the estimate. For instance, if a critical end-date now has some flexibility, perhaps the estimate can be revised based on this new information.

  • Determine whether high-level requirements and functionality can be scaled back. In many cases, the original set of features and functions is more of a wish list. After seeing a price tag, it is very possible that the client can live without certain features.

  • If you included a high contingency to reflect a high estimating risk, ask the client for more time to gather more detail for the estimate. This may result in there being less uncertainty and risk, and allow you to reflect this as a smaller contingency.

The estimating packet gives you the facts to respond. It will also stop many challenges because people will have difficulty disputing your facts.

If your estimate is accepted based on your estimating rigor, the discussion can proceed to alternatives.

Courtesy of…

This column is © copyright to and originally appeared in their weekly project management tip newsletter.

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