Because your desk chair may come crashing down, misassembly can be dangerous. Misapplication of self-tanner can also be dangerous. Despite these horrors project managers have another “mis” to worry over — “misestimation.”
Incorrect estimations can lead to over-budget, excessive time, or even over-the edge. It’s difficult to accurately estimate because you’re guessing. This is kind of the point.
This paradox can be solved and you don’t have to worry about mishaps. Here are some ways project management software can help to avoid misestimation.
1. Learn from past mistakes
Project management software has a great advantage: it allows you access past “estimated/actual data” on similar projects to help you estimate accurately. This is particularly important as we are often victims of our “optimism bias” as humans.
Example: “We can completely roll out that new piece software in two months!” This mindset sets you up for failure with your schedule estimation and budget, and often leads you to a substandard product that may or not meet specifications.
2. Prevent Misunderstanding
Budget managers are a tricky bunch. They assume project managers have included “buffers” in their cost estimates, so they reduce allocations to what they think is the actual cost. If you don’t have enough funds to deliver, that’s fine.
PM software can correct these errors by allowing you to accurately estimate the costs and foresee the resources required for your project. This software allows you to organize this information so that budget managers can see exactly what you need, why, and how much it should be. Project management software can help you obtain the resources you need in order to succeed.
3. Don’t Miss Possible Pitfalls
Unexpected difficulties could cause you to fall short. These are often difficult to predict because they are unexpected. That’s again the point. Although project management software cannot protect you from all, it can help you to make sure you have approvals, licenses, critical checkpoints, and other important information to limit the scope for what is not expected.
To further protect against bad surprises, many project management software solutions include risk-analysis and tracking functions.
4. Avoid misrepresentation
Many times, enthusiastic stakeholders exaggerate a project’s feasibility, profitability, or affordability. Sometimes it’s accidental. Sometimes it’s intentional. In either case, it can lead to a rude awakening for those who agree.
Many project management solutions require that you input information that allows you to see abstract concepts like plausibility in concrete terms. If a client claims that they have enough time to complete the project, but the client’s deliverable list shows that they want more than 50, it is easy to see the discrepancy. Project management software functions are designed to ensure that all parties are aware of their expectations and can make them clear.
5. Don’t underestimate the impact
Project management software provides a high-level view that can help you predict the long-term costs of your project. It will remind you to ask questions such as: What will it cost to maintain our systems and infrastructures? Are there any systems that will need to be maintained, updated, or replaced? What type of staff will be needed to manage the PMO? These questions are important to answer in order to determine the overall cost of the PMO.
Recall: PM software can help to estimate time, costs and budget more accurately.
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