Sunday, November 10, 2013

Important points to remember while estmating software projects

Estimating the project with 100 % accuracy is the big challenge to project managers.By doing the exact estimation of the project will lead the project to successful path. There are multiple project estimation techniques available but none of them provides the accurate estimation for  project.
Each estimation technique has different parameters to consider and each technique gives the different estimates. 

I am trying here to put some light as per my project management experience on different points those must need to be considered while doing the estimation of the project.

I will talk about various estimation techniques in my next blog/ 

#1. Define the project management practice before doing the estimation
Lot of managers ignore this point while doing the estimation. Ignorance of this leads to more problems and issues in the project development stage. If the project is not estimated by considering which project management to follow then there will be lot of wish list from client side in each development module. It become very hard to control the project as your development time goes in decreasing and new CRs makes it more complex and time consuming. So your previously estimated time and cost never matches with you estimation and mostly project moves in to controversies.

 Define the project methodology and make it clear to stakeholder and then estimate it.

#2.Try the estimation with available different estimation techniques
Estimation is one of the important stage in any project life cycle  which allow to help in decision making. Stake holder always like to know that all his money going in the right direction with accurate efforts or not. They always try to push you back on big amount and ask for clarification and justification for on big amount tasks. PM must have to be prepared for this because accurate reasons will only satisfy the client.PM must need to compared the estimation with different available techniques before coming to conclusion. Using different techniques will help in understanding the difference and almost able to reach to approximate estimation. 

#3.Plan for bombshell buffer
None of the project can be planned with out buffer.You never no what will happen in the future. Some times your planned resource will leave or resource will not come up with results on time. There could be some technical problems which could delay your planned tasks.And likewise there are lot of things which could delay your planned tasks. So its always essential to have right buffer time allocated with each task.
Allocating buffer time  also have lot of  parameters to think of. Some of them are task complexity, technology illiteracy and resource experience etc.
So PM has to always prepared for such bombshells and need to have proper buffer shield to get protected from this effect.

#4. Allocate proper time for training
Training is not always required but in some projects you need to learn and develop and here it becomes very  important. While doing the estimation PM should think of this point and depending on the requirement allocate proper time for it.

#5.Estimate the project based on the task not on the calendar time
Stake holder always concentrates on the project delivery date. He  is never interested in understanding how big and complex is the project.Once requirements are over then every one right from CTO to VP and client are eager to know the go live date. Here PM has to give exact date and have to complete the project before provided date. So for having the smooth delivery of the project  its important to estimate the project on micro level task and add each micro task with proper time line in the plan.

Hope above five points could help PMs for providing the right estimation on the project. Finally estimations are approximate not exact.  :)

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