Task decomposition can be reached by estimating effort that is required from people involved to perform their tasks. Effort estimation is a decomposition method that determines a specific and quantifiable amount of definable labor units that are necessary to arrive at timely completion of a parent task.
The major advantage and the special feature of this method is that it uses abilities, knowledge and expertise of labor force as the main determinants in identifying sub-tasks and estimating time-frames necessary to perform a broad task or activity.
The effort estimation method assumes that a broad task can be decomposed into smaller pieces of work or sub-tasks if the following conditions are met:
- Every individual involved in the task is self-disciplined, skilled and motivated
- There is good communication between individuals involved
- Focus on desired result of the parent task is clearly defined
- Individuals understand how to reach task completion within specific time-frames
These rules determine an opportunity to reach task decomposition under effort estimates. The method offers the following steps for decomposing a parent task:
- Identify goals and desired result of the task
- Confirm availability of human resources (HR)
- Analyze abilities and skills of HR and confirm they are sufficient to reach the task’s goals and result
- Identify what types of activity are required to do the task (for example: designing, engineering, marketing, management, others)
- Create roles that relate to required types of activity
- Assign roles to HR
- Break down every role into duties and responsibilities
- Estimate time required for employees to perform their roles and responsibilities
- Create a sub-task for each of the responsibility
- Combine several responsibilities to a single sub-task if they are similar or have the same goal
- Assign sub-tasks to HR, according to role assignments
- Have a clear and structure representation of all sub-tasks and related responsibilities and time-frames
- Develop a decomposition chart that explains what effort (a combination of time, roles and responsibilities) required for performing the parent task.