Outcomes of Activity Duration Estimation: Updating and Detailing

Estimate Activity Durations is a critical process within Project Schedule Management, focusing on the outputs that result from predicting the time required to complete each project activity.

This section explores the outputs of estimating activity durations, including updates to project documents, the basis of estimates, and duration estimates. These outputs provide detailed insights into the assumptions, constraints, and risks considered during the estimation process, as well as the range and confidence level of the final estimates. They also contribute to a more comprehensive and probabilistic understanding of the project timeline.

The process of estimating activity durations interacts with other project management processes in several ways. For instance, the duration estimates generated during this process feed into the development of the project schedule and the project management plan. Similarly, the updates to project documents, such as the assumption log and activity attributes, can inform decision-making in areas such as risk management, cost management, and scope management. Ultimately, accurate duration estimates contribute to effective project execution and successful project completion.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the process of updating project documents and the role of various logs during the activity duration estimation.
  • Recognize the importance of providing detailed supporting documentation for duration estimates, including the types of information that should be included.
  • Understand the concept of duration estimates as quantitative assessments of the likely number of time periods required to complete an activity.
  • Recognize that duration estimates do not include any lags and can provide a range of possible outcomes.
  • Interpret examples of duration estimates and probability-based duration estimates, understanding what they indicate about the time required for an activity.

Project Documents Updates

Once the process of activity duration estimation is complete, the critical task of updating project documents takes center stage. This vital step ensures that the most up-to-date and accurate information is readily accessible to all project stakeholders. In doing so, it paves the way for effective decision-making and robust project control.

Activity duration estimates are documented as part of the activity attributes in project documents. These estimates provide valuable information about the expected time required to complete each activity, contributing to the overall project schedule.

The assumption log is a key project document that is updated during the activity duration estimation process. It includes assumptions made during the development of the duration estimate, such as resource skill levels, availability, and the basis of estimates for durations. These assumptions provide context for the duration estimates, helping stakeholders understand the factors that influenced these estimates.

In addition to assumptions, the assumption log also documents constraints related to the scheduling methodology and scheduling tool. These constraints can impact the project schedule and must be considered during the activity duration estimation process.

Another key player in the project document update process is the lessons learned register. Updated during the activity duration estimation phase, it serves as a repository for efficient and effective techniques used in crafting effort and duration estimates. This treasure trove of information can prove invaluable for future projects, enabling project teams to continually refine and enhance their estimation processes.

What is the primary purpose of updating project documents after carrying out the process of activity duration estimation?
  1. To record the project budget
  2. To document activity duration estimates as part of the activity attributes
  3. To update the project schedule
  4. To record the project scope
B) To document activity duration estimates as part of the activity attributes

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Basis Of Estimates

The basis of estimates is a critical output in the process of estimating activity durations in project schedule management. It provides detailed supporting documentation for duration estimates, enhancing clarity and understanding.

The level of detail in the supporting documentation can vary depending on the application area. Regardless of the level of detail, the documentation should provide a clear and complete understanding of how the duration estimate was derived.

Key elements of supporting detail for duration estimates include:

1. Documentation of how the estimate was developed: This provides transparency into the estimation process, enabling stakeholders to understand the methods and data used to derive the estimate.

2. Assumptions made: Assumptions made during the estimation process should be clearly documented. This helps stakeholders understand the basis of the estimate and the potential implications if the assumptions prove incorrect.

3. Known constraints: Any known constraints that could impact the duration of the activity should be documented. This helps stakeholders understand the limitations within which the project must operate.

4. Range of possible estimates: The range of possible estimates, such as ±10%, should be indicated. This shows that the duration is estimated between a range of values, reflecting the inherent uncertainty in the estimation process.

5. Confidence level of the final estimate: The confidence level of the final estimate should be indicated. This provides stakeholders with an understanding of the level of certainty in the estimate.

6. Individual project risks influencing the estimate: Any individual project risks that could impact the duration estimate should be documented. This helps stakeholders understand the potential risks that could affect the project schedule.

By providing detailed supporting documentation for duration estimates, project managers can enhance stakeholder understanding and confidence in the project schedule, facilitating effective project management.

What is the primary purpose of the supporting detail for duration estimates in project schedule management?
  1. To provide a clear and complete understanding of how the duration estimate was derived
  2. To document the project schedule
  3. To document the project budget
  4. To document the project risks
A) To provide a clear and complete understanding of how the duration estimate was derived

Duration Estimates

Duration estimates are quantitative assessments that determine the likely number of time periods required to complete an activity, a phase, or a project. These estimates are crucial in project schedule management as they help in planning and controlling the project timeline.

It's important to note that duration estimates do not include any lags. Lags are delays in the schedule that occur between activities and are accounted for separately in the project schedule.

Duration estimates can provide a range of possible outcomes. This range reflects the uncertainty associated with estimating the time required to complete an activity. For example, a duration estimate could be a range of 2 weeks ± 2 days. This indicates that the activity will take a minimum of 8 days and a maximum of 12, assuming a 5-day work week.

Duration estimates can also be expressed in terms of probability. For instance, a duration estimate could be a 15% probability of exceeding 3 weeks. This indicates an 85% probability that the activity will take 3 weeks or less. Such probability-based estimates provide a more nuanced understanding of the time required for an activity, taking into account the inherent uncertainties in project management.

What is the primary purpose of duration estimates in project schedule management?
  1. To determine the likely number of time periods needed to complete an activity, a phase, or a project
  2. To identify the sequence of activities
  3. To estimate the cost of the project
  4. To identify the resources needed for the project
A) To determine the likely number of time periods needed to complete an activity, a phase, or a project