Relieve the pressure: 3 simple ways to show the level of uncertainty in your estimates

"Why are you over schedule? Your estimate said 93 days and we are on day 97!"

In planning your project you are forced to come up with estimates. These estimates are best guesses and often highly uncertain. Unfortunately you may be held to those estimates further on in your project.

To improve stakeholder and customer understanding of your estimates, your estimates should also convey the level of uncertainty present in the estimate. If the estimate shows a level of uncertainty which is unnaceptable to the customer, the customer can either accept that risk or ask you for better estimates. Giving the customer an understanding of the uncertainty of a project at the beginning can avoid many problems at the end of the project.

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What is the wideband delphi estimation process?

Wideband delphi is a process used to obtain an estimate by involving multiple estimators and combining their estimates. It has a complicated name but is a simple and intuitive process for producing better estimates.

Better estimates allow you to better choose and cost projects. A better estimate of the project can allow you to win more business with more competitive bids, and avoid unprofitable projects.

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Estimate more accurately with these 5 simple tips

Estimates are the benchmark against which project success is measured. At the end of the project, the project success will be judged by how well it met estimates made at the beginning of the project.

If you estimate well, you will win more business with more competitive bids, and avoid unprofitable projects.

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What is the cone of uncertainty?

The cone of uncertainty is the shape made by graphing the accuracy of estimates against the stage of the project. It embodies the idea that estimates made at the beginning of a project will be limited in their accuracy, and that if you work to reduce uncertainty in the project, the estimates can become more accurate over the course of the project.

By understanding the cone of uncertainty you can understand why your initial project estimates will not be accurate, and how you can improve them. You can also use the cone of uncertainty to defend your estimates if they are called into question at a later date. You can also use the cone of uncertainty to support initial discovery stages of projects, where the project concept, requirements and design are fleshed out to give a better idea of project feasibility, schedule and cost.

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