the Surface estimating project duration, effort or cost would seem
to be an objective process. You figure out what work has to be done
and then you make your estimates. But estimating is always a political
process. Are estimates objective or a matter of opinion?
Give it Your Best Guess first probes the social consequences
of creating and communicating an estimate the team members as well
as Senior Management can buy into. For whom are you making the estimate?
How deeply will we, can we committ to it? Of course you can't make
estimates if you don't have a clear view of the work. The discussion
must include some review of the rules of Work Breakdown Structures
and how they are indispensable for reasonable estimates.
Give it Your Best Guess discusses and offer practice on
half a dozen standard estimating techniques that can be applied
to effort, duration or cost. Project Managers need to be able to
direct their team members to use some sort of logic when estimating
to "make the gut scientific" and understand the truth
about how much a projects will cost or how long it will take.
What about "padding, "fluff" or "slush"?
Project Management Professionals (PMP's) sign an Ethics and Professional
Responsibility Statement that they will give honest estimates. Is
that realistic given the political climate in which all projects
live? A discussion of whether estimates should be honest plays an
important role in this class.
Participants should leave this class understanding the estimating
environment and how to survive in it.