Why estimate time?
Simple: Estimating time allows you to stay on time and on budget, helping you to comply with the deadlines you set, earning your clients’ trust.
It also helps as a guide: you can tell your team members the amount of hours they should be allocating to a specific task. For this, it’s important to set feasible and realistic time estimates not to trigger stress!
Remember that estimating time is a skill. And, certainly, not an easy one. People usually tends to underestimate rather than to overestimate, which can sometimes be dangerous: if you take too much time to complete a task, you’ll have an angry client or boss; and if you overestimate instead, you will surely be delivering things before expected, but you may loose potential clients along the way. Overestimating is not the answer either.
Alas! What a dilemma!
How to estimate time (accurately!)
Divide and Conquer
TrackingTime features Project Task Lists, Tasks and To-dos to help you break down projects and make them manageable. Your time estimates will be more accurate if you start from the bottom-up: instead of beginning by estimating time for an entire Project, start by setting an estimate for each task, and then put them together.
Know your team and engage them
TrackingTime user skills help you assign the right tasks to the right people: knowing what you are delegating and to whom will help you estimate time more accurately. If you assign a task involving Java Script to somebody that has been tracking that skill for 1,000 hours, the time estimate will be shorter than if you choose to assign the same task to somebody who has spent 200 hours on it.
Good communication with your team is really important: Ask them how much they think they shall take on that specific task and let them set their own estimates and deadlines, so they become more involved in the process. This way, they’ll have to comply their own time estimates, instead of estimates and deadlines imposed by others.
By doing this, you will also be developing team member’s estimating skills, which is not a minor detail, for it shall lead not only to more accurate projections and better productivity, but it will also encourage staff’s autonomy and self-reliance.
Burn and Learn
Once the Project is finished, compare the project and task estimates to the actual worked time using TrackingTime Reports. This powerful tool will be extremely useful for future projects and tasks.
TrackingTime Timelines will also help you to learn from history, and will come in handy to evaluate how the project developed and at what point of the project the milestones where reached. Timelines tell the story of the project and display labeled information. Remember: Hours don’t lie!