Product Management6 MIN READ2020-12-24

How to estimate a project?

It is extremely difficult to make an accurate project estimation. It requires skills as well as experience. You should consider the deliverables, tasks, and processes in order to create a workable estimate. Also, making a precise project estimation requires a good relationship with the clients because you need to be so clear about their requirements, according to which estimation is made.

The article following can be a perfect guide for you to create a workable estimate. Get ready to learn the arts of estimating the project.

1. Involve your team members and know their potential

Project managers sometimes unintentionally isolate other team members from the project management process. This is one of the major drawbacks that can escalate the complexity of project estimation. In order to have a precise project estimation, it is very necessary to include each member of your team in the overall project estimation process. And for this, a better relationship with the team members is a must for this.

It is also equally important to know the potential and the contribution of each member in overall project management. This will not only make you better at estimating the budget of your project but also at allocating and tagging costs to the involvement of each member.

Moreover, you cannot be just a spectator and be a desk jockey of your project. Your involvement is mandatory for successful project estimation. You must delve into the work on which your team members are engaged with. This can help you get the track of three major influencers of the project estimation: people, scope, and budget. Similarly, it gives you insights into the skills, expertise, and the contribution of other team members. It will do wonders in figuring out accurate project estimation.

2. Get familiar with the company’s project management process

Once you get through the works and skills of each team member, it is now time to move on to understand how the company handles a project.

In order to know the working style of your company, it is better to go through the books and manuals. But do not always expect to happen what is written. In such cases, being practical does help a lot. You can always ask and make some crucial conversations with other team members to acquire information on the working style of the company.

Nowadays, many companies run in agile, waterfall, etc. processes. If you are unaware of these, you must study and quickly learn it. It is the only way to know all your dependencies and hence make the right estimation. The more you know about how things are done, the better it is for you in either sense; making accurate estimation or project’s successful completion.

3. Broaden your knowledge horizon

Learning is a never-ending process. Having adequate knowledge is always beneficial. Do not stay in the shadow of confusion and misunderstandings. Take mistakes as opportunities to learn.

As a project manager, you should be capable of handling people, processes, and clients. You should always remain well-informed about the trends and changes. It is tough to remain updated, but it is worth it after all. It can help you bag huge success in days to come.

The most quick and reliable method to develop knowledge and understanding is through the relevant papers, articles, blogs, publications, and websites. Attending training, workshops, and conferences can also do a wonderful job of learning the process in a short time.

4. Learn from project history of your team

When you have the privilege to go through the past project documents, take the optimum benefit out of it. It can be a supporting document for you to make estimates on similar projects. Although every project is unique but the clients, communications, team members, and technology you encounter are often similar. Discovering how much time your team took to perform the said tasks gives you an idea about your ability to deliver similar results.

Sometimes, we underestimate both the budget and timeline in the hope of doing the favor to the clients and the team. We come to realize it only after we missed the deadline and the project has gone over budget. It exerts huge pressure on the project manager and the team at the last hours. In such a case, your project history can help you to evaluate your estimation skills. Within a short time, you can find your shortcomings and know if you are habitually underestimating or not.

5. Ask more right questions

Sometimes, due to the lack of pertinent information on the would-be projects, the estimation goes wrong. To avoid this error, you should go thoroughly and know every detail of the project proposal. If still there is confusion and misleading information, you shouldn’t stop yourself from asking questions. Be creative and not too pushy in asking the questions. Understand the other business of the clients and be respectful of their opinions. Ask the question that is understandable by the clients and follow up until you get them all.

Understand the goal of the project, know if the participation from the client-side is possible, and set the criteria to determine the success of the project. Likewise, find the range of services and technology the project will require and the client’s ability to pay for it. Lastly, for the precise project estimation, the timeline should be defined clearly. In some cases, the project requires extended service after the completion of the project. You should also take account of it while estimating the project.

6. Apply a work breakdown structure

The good project manager should be familiar with the work break down structure (WBS) tool which helps to divide the project into phases, tasks, and subtasks. These are the achievable milestones of the project. If you can calculate the time and cost of each fraction of the tasks, you will automatically create a perfect estimation for the project.

What we have concluded from the above article is, the knowledge on Scope, Time, Cost, Quality, Resource, and Risk of the project are vital for the right project estimation. Similarly, you need to be updated with the trends and changes. And the perfect combination of skills, knowledge, and experience will help you become the best project estimator in the business.

If you have confusion about the project estimation, then Truemark is always ready to help you. Please feel free to contact us.


Pradip Poudel

Pradip Poudel

Entrepreneur, Co-Founder

Pradip is a full time entrepreneur. Co-Founder of Truemark Technology, his primary goal is to help his clients create products that are valuable and useful to end users. He is dedicated and professional, delivering high quality code and continuous improvements on every project.