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Software Project Management For Dummies® by

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Chapter 8. Creating Project Time Estimates

In This Chapter

  • Getting organized before you start

  • Getting a PND in order

  • Letting history be your guide

  • Finding the critical path

  • Making an estimate

It's Monday morning and you're hard at work on one of the many projects you manage for your company, a large manufacturer. Susanna, the Chief Operating Officer, pops into your office because she wants to chat with you about a new project. She explains that the purpose of the project is to create a piece of software that will measure the productivity of each piece of equipment on the shop floor.

She envisions that the software will somehow connect to the machinery on the shop floor and measure the speed and efficiency of each piece of equipment. The measurements taken by the software will allow the organization to make changes to improve productivity. Susanna says that she'll leave all the tech stuff up to you and your experts, but she does have some ideas on what the software interface should look like and what components it should measure.

And then she asks, “So, how long will this take to create?”

Isn't that a great question? You don't have enough information, most likely, to give a reasonable answer. You don't know the project scope or the required resources to interface with the manufacturing equipment. You also have several other projects in the mix. But Susanna needs an answer now. You could give a guesstimate, but she'll hold you to it. What's your best move?

First, stall. In fact, whenever possible, ...

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