What does estimation mean for your project?Digital Project Management
Why estimation is extremely important to do right, in order to execute successful projects.
Most project managers know the feeling. Controlling a project that seems impossible to complete within the boundaries of time and budget. The original intention with the project was good enough, but after going more in depth with the high level overview of the required resources measured in man-hours and cost underlines the problem. It cannot be done within the allotted time and budget. This can get even the best project idea to erode even before it has been completely thought through or gotten out of the starting gate.
The majority of new projects (and companies) can use some refinement to come out clearly and understandable into the world. A big part of being successful and acknowledged is not only about marketing and strategy but also about insights into the span of one's project(s). In regards to the latter it is highly beneficial to be able to determine the total effort, measure it which helps point in the right direction on the way to completion.
Even more importantly, to launch successfully and succeed with one's project(s), is the estimation process where a realistic assessment of the scope is made, to better evaluate the value of different actions and each measure to be taken.
Reach your project's goals with proper estimation
To reach your project's goals without sidetracking or completely failing it can be a huge advantage to be able to measure on several parameters in all parts of the project or subprojects at the same time. This must be done to reach a realistic evaluation of the project scope as possible. This requires that a thorough screening with data collection and/or comparison of data from previous projects, if such exists.
With agile methodologies - agile in this context means an iterative process, working in boxed amounts of time called sprints and assessing the effort and progress continuously in each sprint towards the end goal - there is room for adjustments to improve the end product, even though obstacles are met through the process that the project is evolving in.
Agile working methods are though not a bulletproof guarantee that the project will be kept within the allotted budget that has been set. This is why the upfront estimation is extremely important for the success of the project. The estimation process is also the crucial point where the project's total scope is set and priced. The pricing includes the scope from the pre-project work, initial requirements and onwards to the complete delivery or hand-over of the finished product or execution of for instance a campaign.
Estimation as a strategic tool
In the McKinsey Quarterly from November 2013 it is stated in their insights, that a great number of companies spent upwards of 90% of their investments in developing new internal analytical models instead of actually getting the models down through the organization into the hands of the people that actually work with the front line and executing the projects.
In our experience, many companies spend 90 percent of their investment on building models and only 10 percent on frontline usage, when, in fact, closer to half of the analytics investment should go to the front lines.
With a proven and established estimation process the opportunity and chance of success vastly increases within the paramount project factors such as human, technical, time, and economical boundaries and potentials. It is also through the estimation process it is found out whether the organization possesses the needed capacity to implement the project that is set out or if it will be necessary to make further investments or lessen the scope of the project to reach the end goal.
It can be a challenge to manage any project. An effective and accurate estimation is therefore to a great extent the crux of the project and if it in the first place ends up being viable, and above all, it ends up being a long-term success.
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