3.1 How Long Will This Take?

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For example, correctly estimating how long it's gonna take for you to complete your work. You can compare the work that's similar in nature, and then update your estimate based on the differences. Now you can change your estimate based on the fact that you're performing these steps, but with one month of data.

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Welcome back. It’s time for us to take a look at a few little things that can make a big impact in your ability to manage your time and your productivity. For example, correctly estimating how long it’s gonna take for you to complete your work. More effectively managing communications, and understanding your most and least productive times of day. We’re gonna start with estimating. Now we have been talking about having a plan and understanding priorities. Talking about time tracking and calculating your strategic reserve time. Central to all of us is estimating. When we discussed Sam, and the work he needed to complete on that Friday afternoon, Sam had estimates for how long each item was going to take him. How did he know? The best estimates come from experience. In the case of Sam, he created a status report every week. And he knew that every week it took him 30 minutes. The special report that he was creating for his manager was similar to a report he had created for his manager in the past, and he knew how long it would take. This means it really pays for you to keep a log of the work you do. And how long it takes you to complete this work, next time you do something similar you won’t have to guess how long it’s gonna take. You might create yourself a log or a table that list what you’re working on, so maybe the name of the task, a description of it. So maybe create quarterly analysis report description what do you have to do, gather the month end reports for the quarter, extract the data, upload it to the database, that type of thing. Your initial estimate, let’s say two hours, how long it actually took? Let’s say it was three hours which means you have a variance of negative one it took you an hour longer. That’s okay. Now what you wanna gather is the reason for the variance. Is it because some of the reports were harder to get to, hard to read. Why did it take you longer? That’s what you’ll learn from. And if you’re not certain how long something will take, you can ask a subject matter expert. You might be able to look it up online. Perhaps there are records from last time this kind of work was completed. Or if it’s specialized work, you might be able to find data about it. You can compare the work that’s similar in nature, and then update your estimate based on the differences. When you do this, this is called analogous estimating. For example, your creating a report similar to the quarterly customer analysis report that we just used in our example, and this report is based on one month of data instead of three months. Otherwise, you’re gonna still perform the same steps. Now you can change your estimate based on the fact that you’re performing these steps, but with one month of data. Is the month you are using archived, if so don’t cut out the archival retrieval time, but if it is, that’s not archived, then cut that time from the estimate. If there’s less data, maybe you can cut out the time for the import. Maybe it won’t take as long, so keep track. What if you’re being asked to estimate something that is somewhat repetitive. Perhaps validating the data. You know it takes about 15 minutes to validate one month of data, and you were gonna validate three months. Then it’s reasonable to use some kind of formula, perhaps like this. Data validation time is equal to 15 minutes times 3, or 45 minutes. When you do this, this is called parametric estimating. Be sure to write this down in your estimating table, you can refer back to it. When you improve your estimating, you’re gonna improve your productivity, cuz you can, you’ll know how much you can really do in a certain day. It would be more effective. And also of course improves your reputation.

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