7.2 Time Estimation

Time is among the core elements in project management. Thus, project managers must be skilled in time estimation. Devoid of this, the project manager and the project stakeholders may not know how long the project might take. In turn, they will be unable to attain commitment or resources from the relevant parties needed to sign them off. In most projects, sponsors or investors judge whether the project deliverables and scope per the estimated time and budget. Therefore, as a project manager, developing an accurate and logical budget and achievable deadlines for the project elements is necessary. Time estimation is the background for the effective realization of a given project since it acts as a driver to various project processes. Thus, to estimate the volume of time needed for the whole project, the following procedures should be taken:

  • Identification of the various tasks; this can be done by developing a detailed Work Breakdown Structure and creating a list of tasks necessary for the achievement of project deliverables and milestones (“The Role of Time Estimation in Project Management – blog”, 2021). 
  • The assessment of the hours to weeks necessary to accomplish the project activities; is followed by the addition of the total individual estimates to attain the total time needed to complete the project. 

7.2.1 How to Accurately Estimate Time

There are sequential steps that can be employed to estimate a given project’s time and deliverables accurately. They include:

1.  Understanding the project requirement: The project manager should first identify the various works needed within the project. Tools such as Work Breakdown Structures, Drill-Down, Business Requirement Analysis, and Gap Analysis may prove vital in identifying these needs. It is also crucial that the project manager avails time for communication with stakeholders, meetings, and other activities that may prove crucial to the project’s success. 

2.  Ordering activities: In this stage, the project manager should list all the project’s relevant activities. The project manager can also estimate the important deadlines for the vital activities necessary to accomplish the project. 

3.  Deciding the relevant personnel needed for the project: The project team are the foundation of the project. They are responsible for the achievement of activities necessary to complete the project deliverables and scope. Therefore, the project manager must select a specialized team that may accomplish the project. 

4.  Make time estimates: The creation of the time estimates necessitates the creation of estimated time for each task rather than estimating the whole project. Therefore, it is vital to have a list of activities to develop accurate project estimates. It is also vital to evaluate all assumptions and constraints since they may factor in the estimated time. 

7.2.2 Methods Used to Estimate Time

1.  Bottom-Up Estimation

Bottom-up estimation facilitates the creation of the time estimate of a given project as a whole. The development of the bottom-up estimates necessitates the breakdown of lager tasks into detailed tasks. After this, the estimated time to complete these tasks is approximated (Rehfeldt, Fleiter, & Toro, 2018). In this approach, the project manager assumes that each task is incremental. Therefore, the estimated time for each task is likely to be accurate. 

2.  Top-Down Estimation

This approach is vital first to develop an overview of the timeline expected for the project. The expected timeline acts as a guide for every activity within the project. While top-down estimates are increasingly used in project management, it is vital to compare them against the bottom-up estimate (Jorgwnsen, 2004). Doing so facilitates increased accuracy. 

3.  Comparative Estimation

Comparative estimation estimates the time taken to complete similar tasks in other projects. 

4.  Parametric Estimation

In this approach, the project manager estimates the time necessitated to complete one deliverable then multiplies it by the total number of the project deliverables. The total amount of time marks the estimated time for the completion of the whole project. 

Emmanuel Addo

Emmanuel Addo is the founder of the Young Global Leaders Network, an international non-governmental organization registered in six (6) countries namely, Ghana, United Kingdom, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo, and South Sudan and has a membership strength of over 15,000 young black professionals, students, graduates, and aspiring leaders.

The organization also operates in 25 other African countries. Emmanuel also doubles as the chief convener and founder of the Young African Leaders Summit, one of the largest continental youth summits in Africa.  

Currently works at Kingston University as a Business Engagement Team Member in their Partnerships and Engagement Department. 

He characterizes energy, integrity, result-oriented, and ground-breaking service in each detail of strategic management, change management, stakeholder management, and leadership acquaintances.
Emmanuel owns a core background in Sociology and Psychology from the University of Ghana.

Leveraging his experience as a youth activist and a dynamic young man, Emmanuel founded the Young Global Leaders Network, a youth organization that comprises young diplomats, young politicians, and aspiring politicians, business/entrepreneurial business leaders with the aim of championing a mutual agenda for the African youth and promoting youth participation in governance as well as promoting entrepreneurial culture.
Emmanuel nurtures an environment of teamwork and has expertise in data collection and analysis as well as both quantitative and qualitative methods.

Emmanuel worked as an Associate Lecturer at the London College of Advanced Management where he delivered a wide range of business management courses that involved principles of marketing, leadership, operation management, and research methods. Emmanuel has always maintained high teaching and learning standards to ensure that his students’ stand out in academic achievements and successful progression. As a stout believer and passionate key player in volunteering; Emmanuel creates quality time to giving back gladly to his community what he has learned and to educate individuals with free consultancy on career development. He is a leader anyone would love to look up to and with great integrity, commitment, and passion to make the world a better place.
Emmanuel worked as Qualifications Manager at the Open University in the UK.

Emmanuel is also the founder of Kickstart Innovation Hub Ltd, the entrepreneurial hub of Young Global Leaders Network.