Task duration estimation serves as a good practice of scheduling project activities in line with project requirements. This practice embraces a range of methods and techniques (e.g. Wideband Delphi, Backward Estimation, Contingency Planning, others) that estimate time limits and durations of project tasks.
The key idea of the practice is that a project’s overall duration is calculated as total of individual durations of tiny measurable activities and tasks. A smaller activity is easier to estimate for time, so the practice requires reaching the deepest work decomposition.
Here are basic steps for using task duration estimation in project scheduling:
- Define a project to be scheduled
- Identify the project’s time requirements (e.g. final desired completion date, deadlines)
- Decompose the project into smaller activities and tasks
- Check if tasks can be decomposed into sub-tasks
- Estimate time length for each of the tasks/sub-tasks
- Create individual duration estimates for tasks/sub-tasks
- Combine these estimates into an aggregate time spreadsheet that calculates individual durations to determine the project’s overall duration.