Course Unit

How to Select the Best Estimate

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Estimating project timelines can be as unpredictable as your daily commute. To account for uncertainties and provide a reliable timeline, it's essential to use probability and normal distribution in your estimations.

Key topics covered include:

  1. Understanding Estimation Uncertainty: Recognising that project estimates can vary due to unforeseen events and including buffer time to account for these uncertainties.
  2. Normal Distribution and Project Estimates: Using a bell curve to understand the probability of different outcomes. The average time offers a 50% chance of meeting the timeline.
  3. Choosing the Right Estimate: Avoiding extremes:Average Estimate: A 50% chance of accuracy.
    Worst-Case Scenario: Ensures success but may be too costly.
  4. Balanced Estimation: Finding a value between the average and worst-case scenarios for an 86% chance of meeting or exceeding expectations.
  5. Communicating Estimates: Explaining the rationale behind the estimate to stakeholders and avoiding overly optimistic timelines.
  6. Adjusting Estimates: Adjusting estimates higher to reduce the risk of missing deadlines.
  7. Practical Application: Using the exercise files to calculate a realistic timeline estimate for the hotel's scheduling project and communicating it effectively to the COO.

By the end of this lesson, you will be able to create accurate project estimates using normal distribution principles, managing stakeholder expectations, and increasing project success chances.

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