Most Common Mistake When Estimating a Project Plan

Hi, I’m Allison, and I want to talk to you about one of the most common mistakes that people make when estimating a project plan.

That mistake is underestimating the time that it will take to complete the tasks due to external pressure to make the project’s schedule shorter than it can actually be.

Let me give you an example: Let’s say that you need to travel from New York to Los Angeles for a business meeting. Your boss asks you how long it will take you to get there, and you reply “6 hours”. The boss says that 6 hours is too long and you should travel from New York to L.A. in 3 hours. You agree, because you want to please your boss, but guess what? After 3 hours of traveling, you end up in Chicago, not L.A. — because it’s impossible to travel from New York to Los Angeles in less than 6 hours!

Believe it or not, this same thing often happens with project scheduling. You set the project schedule proposal and present it to your managers and clients. Then they say that it’s too long and ask you to make it shorter. But the truth is that you can’t make the schedule shorter just to please the clients. Why? Because when you start developing the project, you’ll reach the deadline only half way through the development. And then the clients will get frustrated.

The only way you can truly shorten the project schedule is either by adding more people to the team, or by removing some of the project features. If you and the client are willing and able to do one of these things, then you can realistically plan for a shorter project schedule.

No matter how long or short your project schedule is, you need to be sure to track it carefully. Elementool Scheduling enables you to define project schedules and track the actual progress compared to the plan, which you’ll find is a great help as you try to keep the schedule on target. If you don’t have Elementool Scheduling yet, click on the Sign Up button below now to start your free trial account.