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When Will My Microsoft Dynamics Project Be Done?

This is a valid question that all clients ask on every project. The answer to this question and how the delivery date is estimated may change as the team progresses through the APM (Adaptive Project Management) lifecycle. Let’s review the various estimating techniques a team may use during a project.

Image of an alarm clockWhen a sales person starts analyzing a potential project there may be little, if any information that can be used by advanced estimation techniques. As a result of this limitation, the sales person may use “Expert Judgment” to initially determine a potential delivery date. Expert Judgment is a technique where the sales person is influenced by the factors of size, complexity, number of stakeholders, costs, and other information from previous projects to calculate and estimate the delivery date of a future project.

The next group of stakeholders that will estimate the project will generally be the project team. The project team will perform a more rigorous analysis of the situation and information at hand. When the project team estimates the delivery date before the beginning the of a Dynamics project, they generally will use the more sophisticated and accurate “Bottom-Up” Or “Analogous” estimating techniques. The Bottom-Up estimation technique is where the team will break the work down into activities and then assign hours to each activity. The team will then apply the hours over a period of time to determine the project duration and the estimated delivery date. An Analogous estimating technique is where the team will compare their forecasted activities to their previous activities to draw comparisons in proportion and estimate the project delivery date.

During the execution of the project the team can more accurately estimate the project delivery date by using the velocity of the previous work done and by estimating the remaining work to be done. An estimate done with the team’s velocity is the most accurate technique because the calculation takes into consideration the previous history and trend of the project team to determine the delivery date.

In summary, the way project teams estimate project delivery dates changes depending on how far along the team is in the lifecycle of the project. Early estimates in the sales cycle are generally less accurate than estimates created using the team’s historical data during the actual execution of the project.

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