Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Estimates, Schedules, Assumptions and Risks

"Though life is made up of mere bubbles, 'Tis better than many aver, For while we've a whole lot of troubles, The most of them never occur.”
                                                                                                - Nixon Waterman

With this post I conclude the series on scheduling and estimating that started with the basics of scheduling.  I hope that this series has successfully drilled into you that offering an informal estimate, without including all of the elements for success and properly qualifying the estimate with assumptions or risks, is an eventual path to damaging your credibility and the credibility of the PM profession.  Estimates should almost universally be presented as ranges with statistical probabilities.  (It’s a real disgrace that our tools generally don’t provide this capability.)
Estimates should always include estimating assumptions.  This is not a CYA point, but rather the estimating assumptions further clarify the scope and scope boundaries, establishing basis for (project) change control.  Change Management is a topic that I haven’t developed yet and is a good one for a future series.  Stay tuned for that one.

A well-formed schedule takes work to produce.   When done well it has a rational basis and a foundation in science.  And despite all that, it is still subject to failure.  That is no excuse, though, for us not to do the work that our profession calls for.  In fact, it is the reason that we should be as rigorous as possible in our duties.
Starting with my next post, I’m going to cover a few miscellaneous topics for a few posts before starting a new series.

What estimating and scheduling issues do you experience that I have not addressed in this series?
© 2013 Chuck Morton.  All Rights Reserved.

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