Estimating a consulting project is easy.
“You pick an imaginary number, double it, double it, and then double it 4 more times.” said an ex Delivery Director I once knew.
Estimating a consulting project PROPERLY is not impossible if you:
– have an experienced team
– know how to ask the right questions
– know how to document requirements correctly
– know how to build to requirements
A good team does not ‘build fat’ into the estimations.
They should provide a reasonably accurate number based on complexity of the work, and the internal capability.
They should work with the Project Manager to plan the resourcing and the build of the project.
Sometimes, if the go-live is quite an ambitious target, parallel streams may be necessary, requiring team lead and additional management overhead to coordinate the delivery.
Of course, this increases the risks as well as the cost for the project.
Estimating the project delivery is a team effort, that takes into account many factors.
A seasoned team will be able to get better and better at this, resulting in more successful projects under the belt.
Make sure you have solid justification for your numbers, otherwise you might run into trouble mid-way if you’ve underestimated it poorly.
Or you might just lose the deal completely, if you’ve over-estimated the effort.
Too many ‘character-buidling’ projects can be traced back to poor estimation at the start.
It’s a bit like the “measure twice, cut once” adage.
If you measure wrong, you may end up trying to keep your skirt up with a safety pin because you sewed it wrong*.
*not that it ever happened to me 😁