Correctly estimating project time will save you the trouble with tight deadlines, overworked employees, unhappy clients, stressful workflow and no actual profit. If this is often the case in your company, chances are it happens because of inaccurate time and complexity estimation of the tasks to be done during the project.
To avoid wrongfully calculating the needed time for each task, you must first be familiar with all the work that needs to be done for its completion. Each task is divided into few smaller assignments that need to follow a specified or not order and all of them require a particular amount of time, budget, and human resources to complete.
The task pyramid is not only the main assignments of the project, its very foundation is every small job that has to be done to move upward to the goal and saving some extra time for unexpected problems that may ruin your project in the future. When estimating time, the only fail-safe you have is the extra time you leave for emergencies. Correctly estimating the time for your project will then allow you to create reasonable deadlines and achieve your goal without having extra expenses and time issues.
Understanding the tasks starts with the identification of all the work that needs to be done. Break down the structure of each task to create a step-by-step plan for execution. Include in the task lists and schedule each meeting, testing period, communication time and other such activities your project depends on, since all of them also take time and cannot be done in the last minute or meanwhile, without costing you extra resources.
Once you have broken down each task into smaller objectives, it is time to arrange the follow-ups of each assignment and create a logical order of execution. When you create the task schedule you divide it into daily plans that do not take all the working hours of the day to complete but leave a % of the time for emergencies.
Once you have created the original plan, make a meeting with the employees who will work on the project. Chances are they will have even better time estimations for their assignments, due to prior experience. Making a brainstorming session to complete your strategy will help you in few ways – you will get to understand better the very basis of the project, also, you will surely hear more accurate assumptions, ideas and stuff you forgot about. In the end, you get to see if your plan was originally accurate since no one knows what is the work on all levels, you will help you employees feel engaged and part of the process, in other words, you will motivate them.
Finalizing your great plan with time estimations as accurate as possible will require for you to carefully examine the original plan and all the information given to you from those who will actually do the job and then update your schedule.
Now that you have made the final strategy, all that is left is to closely control and monitor the workflow, in order to react on time in any case. Using time and attendance tracking software is a perfect opportunity to further adjust your schedules, keep an eye on the ongoing project and fix all mistakes that may ruin your project. Regular communication and time management are crucial for your strategy to work. Making a great plan is not enough, if you can’t complete it. Therefore, you must always care to check on the progress of your project and take all the necessary steps it doesn’t go out of control.