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 Estimation  Estimation   The Project Quality   The Project Quality

Manage   »   Estimation   »   Estimate Management


This is a huge and important topic so; let us look at estimate management.

Your objective throughout estimating is to try and achieve estimates which are as accurate as possible, as early as possible. Again, let us also make this a simple and straightforward process.

For each project, you create an estimate history. Record the first and every subsequent estimate for that project. You have the date of the estimate, the estimate amount and an estimate status. We suggest the basic statuses you will record are original, superseded and latest. This way you can identify which was the original estimate, which is the latest estimate and all the others are thus superseded.

If you are in a commercial project supplier arrangement you may need to also record and supply a final invoice price i.e. price that was charged to deliver the final project then have the status called final. With this information you can identify the difference between the original and the latest (or final) estimate. This gives an idea how successful the project was at estimating.

This alone is not of huge organisational importance however when you combine and compare estimates across the whole project pipeline, it gives the organisation a more accurate idea of its estimating competence and capability. The managerial metrics which come out of this process are often very revealing. They show the number of projects who got their estimate correct and delivered according to their original plan. It also shows those projects which regularly changed their estimate.

You may be surprised to see how often this changes wildly up and down as managerial and other influences take hold. You will also notice that these projects very often finally arrive at very near the original estimate anyway. Furthermore these metrics will also reveal those projects that poorly estimated their project originally and went on to deliver to an agreed budget that was also well outside acceptable financial bounds. This is very revealing too.

You may be wondering how your project can deliver outside acceptable financial bounds and why we need estimate history inside The Big Agile Toolkit. If you were wondering this, then top marks to you. You are absolutely correct. We do not really need it if we never need to re-estimate. However we need to re-estimate when we need to re-plan. We need to re-plan when we shift scope. This can happen with some frequency but it gets easier and easier and provides improved estimating performance as you use the Toolkit more and more.

Once this process is embedded within your organisation, your projects will be estimated more accurately and delivered inside tighter estimate bounds. The reason why you need it is because it is a history to demonstrate progress: to show where you came from and to show where you have got to in estimate management. It is a record of progress and allows you to contrast projects that use the Toolkit with those that have not done so or choose not to. Obviously your estimates are the financial predictions of the budget you intend to use on a project.

The project money and the project quality are important topics we have debated elsewhere in the Toolkit. Now it is the turn of the Project Quality.

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