How many times have you taken up a project but, were not able to complete it on time? Oftentimes, we overestimate ourselves and underestimate the time we are planning to accomplish the tasks in. This leads to overdue of the work, and a complete lag in the work you have done. How can we overcome this? We start with time estimation, and by that I mean actual estimation.
Let’s say you are an electrician, and are supposed to go to two places for change in wiring. How will you estimate the time taken, and the time at which you will visit the next place? Based on your experience and your knowledge of the work at the particular place, you can estimate a possible time. However, there are those issues that we rarely take into consideration, like unavailability of resources, emergency etc. which can hinder the time you would ideally take.
Here we will talk about tips that will help you estimate the time taken while keeping in mind all the above mentioned things.
1). Double the time estimation:
If you believe you can do a particular task in five days, make sure you tell the person in concern ten. This way you would be able to have some contingency time in hand, and should be able to deliver in the time you have estimated. The time will help you overcome all the obstacles as well.
For instance, when I say I can complete a project in 10 hours, I actually mean five but, I give the ten so that if there are some unavoidable circumstances, I still have those 5 hours remaining in my hand.
It may not work always, and in some cases estimation needs to be more than double; however, for effective use of time, this estimation method should work. Try and let me know if you had a better time handling your affairs.
2). Talk to someone for better planning:
If you are going to plan and deliver the project yourself, chances are you may not take into account certain things that are important. Your time estimation may falter as a result. Instead of planning yourself, talk to someone who may know or not know what you are doing. This will help you recall elements and parts of the planning that you have ignored completely, and will give you a better idea.
For instance, the project takes 10 hours based on your planning. Discuss it with the other team member, and you would realize you have missed out on certain things in the project plan. This will affect your time estimation, and will, in turn, affect your overall delivery.
It is always a good idea to talk to another person before going ahead with what you have planned.
3). Go with MVP structure:
Start with a minimum viable product, and build your final version on it. Your time estimation should begin with the MVP and then move on to the final version. This way the time invested will be less and the outcome will be better, in terms of both quality and deliverables.
For this, you may want to understand the project completely, and should know what all you need to deliver. When you are aware of all the possibilities involved in a project, you would be able to deliver the focused version in a better way.
4). Maintain a journal:
With each day, add entries to the journal and mention how much you have managed to achieve and focus on the productivity chart. It is important you keep this simple, so that you can accomplish the tasks faster.
This journal will help you take care of all the unforeseen circumstances that may affect your work in the near future, and you will be more planned working out the same project next time.
5). Keep the purpose in mind:
While working on the project, it is important to know the purpose of the project in mind, and then deliver. For instance, if you are a news reporter, you need to update the people with the latest news immediately. When this purpose is clear, you know your timelines better and the time estimation works in your favor.
You should ideally interact with the person for whom you are working on the project for a better understanding of the purpose, which will help you determine the time estimation in a focused way.
It is important that you know the time estimation for all the projects, before you begin with the actual execution of the project. The time estimation requires understanding of the work, the purpose, the goal and the resources available for the task.
I have been working on time scheduling and time estimation projects, and have gained expertise in the same. In fact, I work on time estimation for my personal tasks too. You can connect with me to take the discussion further and know in detail how this works.