Project Management

A Simple Way to Calculate Your Project Estimate

PMI Madison/S. Central Wisconsin Chapter

Vishnusekhar is a Project & Portfolio Manager with Pennsylvania Interactive, LLC, (subsidiary of NIC, Inc.). He is a top-performing project manager with more than 11 years of IT experience combining expert SDLC management skills, lead development background and an extensive UI, database management and administration background.

“How much time you need to complete this project/change request?”

“When can you deliver?”

“Can you give me a high-level estimate by end of the day?”

We cannot avoid these questions from our daily work. Most often, we may not have the luxury of detailed information. Therefore, our best possible option here is ballpark and gives an estimation. However, once we share a ballpark estimation, there will be a follow-up question: “How did you get these numbers?” Then we need justification. Accountability!

Even for a ballpark estimate, what are the things we should consider? Here are my thoughts:

  1. A high-level breakdown
  2. Risks, unknowns or uncertainties
  3. Average productive hours
  4. Holidays and number of business days
  5. Earliest and latest start dates

Is there any easy and simple way to get this done? Yes! Download the Project Estimation Calculator Excel template and follow 10 simple steps for calculating your project estimate.

What can you expect from this template? Estimated hours, number of business days required and estimated finish dates for three different scenarios: optimistic, most likely and pessimistic. In addition, this template will provide you the expected duration based on a triangular distribution method and beta distribution (PERT technique).

How it works…
The estimations are based on …

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- Robert Frost