Re: Estimating time needed for a project

Subject: Re: Estimating time needed for a project
From: "Sharon Burton-Hardin" <sharonburton -at- earthlink -dot- net>
To: "Robert Heath" <rheath -at- eGain -dot- com>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2000 15:04:25 -0800

Prioritize. Decide what needs to be done specifically - Re-organize, then
make present tense, then kill passive voice, then add procedures, then add
graphics, etc. Make it a descending list in order of importance. Think of
"If we can only do one thing, what is it? If we can do that and one more
thing, what is the next thing?" and so one. Triage.

Since you don't know how much time you take for things yet, using the method
I describe at least gives you specific targets to shoot for. Have everyone
log the time it takes for exactly what they are doing - xx minutes for spell
check 100 pages, that sort of thing. This starts to give you a place to
estimate from in the future.

Doing this also gives you a specific and measurable thing that you can show
someone and reuse. You can say "We got 400 pages 2 weeks before it had to
ship. In the 2 weeks, we were able to spell check and roughly re-organize.
That took xx hours. We wanted to _________ but did not have time." In the
future, you can say, "If we don't get the docs until 2 weeks before they
ship, we only have time to spell check and roughly re-org. Perhaps this time
we can get 3 weeks, which should allow us to also ________"

It is a starting place for metrics, part of the timekeeping thread. But to
plan, you have to discover how long things take. And if you cannot plan, you
are never going to know what you can do.

See for a PowerPoint talk about this sort of thing.


Sharon Burton-Hardin
President of the Inland Empire chapter of the STC
Anthrobytes Consulting

----- Original Message -----
From: Robert Heath <rheath -at- eGain -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Sent: Wednesday, 16 February, 2000 10:21 AM
Subject: Estimating time needed for a project

| Hello,
| The Pubs team to which I belong has been made responsible for taking a
| collection of docs from our engineers and assembling them into two
| complementary programmer's guides. We won't receive the docs until Monday
| so of next week and the guides are due on the 29th of this month. Our
| engineers typically write and structure their docs pretty poorly, so I
| there will be much effort involved in editing these. I know it is
| unrealistic to produce anything of substantial quality, or perhaps
| beyond a Level 0 doc, according to JoAnn Hackos' way of measuring.
| our team does not currently use any means of estimating the overall time
| needed for a project. If any of you have been involved in a project such
| this, would you help me form a realistic estimate of the time it needs? I
| think we desperately need some method of estimation for our future
| so we're not given more than we can handle.
| Thanks,
| Robert
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