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2 Tutorials that teach Estimating
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Author: Jeff Carroll

Identify real-world examples of time, cost, or resource estimates.

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Source: Image of pinching hand, hand playing chess, Creative Commons, Kelly Eddington; Image of dashed arrows, stopwatch, callout box, dollar signs, shadow people, laptop, Public Domain, Sparkol VideoScribe Internal Image.

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Hi, I'm Jeff. And in this lesson, we'll cover making project estimates. This is one of the primary responsibilities of a project manager, and it's an area where their expertise can greatly help others on the project team. It's often the case that initial budgets or time lines are given to a project before the scope process begins.

So detailed estimates can provide a reality check on those initial values. If the estimates don't match the budget or timeline, then scope may need to be increased or decreased at this point. The project manager will also use these estimates in the next phase to develop a project plan. There are three types of project estimates-- time estimates, cost estimates, and resource estimates. So let's learn about each.

Time estimates will be based on the time each piece of project work takes to complete. It's important to break down the work into small enough blocks so that the estimates aren't too large. Probably no more than four weeks is best. For example, if an email application is needed for a wearable watch with tablet computer like functionality, then break down the estimates into smaller phases of work, such as the ability to edit email responses.

Time estimates might be given with specific dates or by using the number of days or weeks a specific phase will take to complete. Unless the project deliverables are constrained by dates, using the number of days often allows the project manager the greatest flexibility when creating the project plan. Cost estimates are also gathered. These are the investments needed to generate the deliverables.

Cost estimates will also be used to develop the project budget. And these will include operational, technology, or outside cost used to create project deliverables. An example of a cost estimate for our tablet watch project is the cost of the materials and manufacturing necessary for prototype watches.

Finally, there are resource estimates. These are the people, equipment, and technology used to complete the project. Resource costs include the talent needed by the project. These might be people assigned to the project or people only working with the project on specific tasks. It's the project manager's role to note where there are skill gaps with the project team. And then identify methods to close those gaps.

Expertise outside a project can add to the costs. Other costs will be the physical resources needed to complete a project, such as equipment, tools, software, and even information. Our tablet watch project team will all need computers and development software, for example.

All right, good job learning about estimates. As with the expectation gathering, it's critical that the project manager has a consistent method to obtain and document estimate since these are the foundation of an accurate project plan. And now you know how to gather the three estimates needed-- time, cost, and resources. Thanks for your time. And have a great day.

Terms to Know
Project Cost Estimates

The cost estimates or investment in dollars needed to generate project deliverables.

Project Estimates

Estimates relating to time, cost and resources that will be needed to achieve project deliverables.

Project Resource Estimates

Estimates of the resource requirements needed to generate project deliverables (including people resources, equipment and technology).

Project Time Estimates

The estimated time each project deliverable will require to complete.