In this PM training video, Devin Deen, project management expert and trainer, discusses how to calculate task and activity length and duration to create better project schedules.
Here’s a shot of the whiteboard for your reference!
As Devin said, estimating time on a project is a bit of a guessing game. And he noted three different things that were important to remember when you approach this project management art.
People aren’t great at estimating activity task duration
People tend to fill the available time with the effort required to do the task
Always plan for slack on your project schedule
That said, Devin did walk through a number of ways to do the best you can to estimate how long a task may take on your project. Even if you can’t be certain as to its duration, it’s your job to calculate all the variables to the best of your ability and have a window in which you’re pretty sure that work will be completed.
Pro-Tip: When working on an activity estimation, remember that your resources may not be great at estimating the time that their tasks will take. People, as noted above, will use the time allotted rather than the time a piece of work in fact takes. That’s why it’s crucial that you factor this in and give your deadlines some breathing room or else be stuck with an unfinished task.
Take it further and Train Your Team to Estimate! which may help you get more accurate timing on task completions.
Thanks for watching!