18 Dec Reforecasting project status leads to better knowledge. And isn’t knowledge power?
As a project progresses, one of the most valuable practices you can instigate within your project management is reforecasting the estimated hours it will take to finish the project while it is still ongoing. While it may take some more work, it will give you a more accurate representation of where your project actually is, and where it’s actually headed.
To illustrate, let’s look at a brief example. Say there is an engineering job that was estimated to take 500 labor hours to build a machine. They have already used up 300 hours of their budget, so you could easily say that the project is 60 percent complete.
However, now it is time for the project manager to estimate how much labor will be required to finish the job. They must scrutinize each outstanding task in detail and project the number of hours they think will be necessary to finish up the project. Will the budgeted 200 hours be enough? Let’s take a look.
The engineering and design tasks are finished, and the assembly tasks are underway and making good progress. But let’s imagine that they are a little more complex than the manager had originally expected, so they decide to add 15 hours onto each of the 5 assembly tasks remaining, or 75 additional hours in total. That’s a better reflection of what it will actually take to finish the assembly.
In addition to the new assembly estimation, now that the project manager has a better understanding of the computer systems that will run the new machine, they realize that debugging and refining the software will most likely take longer than expected, and add an additional 25 labor hours to the budget that will be needed to get the system up and running.
After this analysis, your project manager has added an additional 100 hours to the original budget of 500, bringing your new total to 600. You’ve already completed 300 hours so far, but with your new estimate, the project is only half way done instead of 60 percent. While that isn’t exactly welcome news, you now have a more accurate picture of how far along the project actually is.
Performing this kind of analysis often on a project serves your teams the more accurate knowledge they need. Knowledge is power, and giving your team greater power can enable them to perform at an even higher level, leading to greater project success, more satisfied clients, and higher profits.
Source: Project Management for Profit by Roger Thomas, Joe Knight and Brad Angus, together with input from Joe Cornwell and Joe Van Den Berghe from Setpoint Inc. Setpoint has a 25-year history of successfully designing and implementing custom rides and attractions for the top amusement and theme parks in the world.