Using Project History to Produce Estimates

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Using Project History to Produce Estimates

We can thank Albert Einstein for the popular definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If that same thing includes producing inaccurate estimates resulting in projects that do not meet their time, effort or scope objectives, better results can indeed be obtained by doing something different: utilizing project history. Learning from and making use of project history can surely help us to achieve better estimation as well as improved project execution results. These results can be achieved with little effort and in a relatively brief period of time. The objectives for at least some Enterprise Project Management Offices (EPMOs) include goals such as: improve the predictability, agility, and speed of project delivery. To an EPMO’s Estimation Center of Excellence (ECOE), this means improving the accuracy of estimates, particularly those made early in the project life cycle. To accomplish this, a project benchmarking process can be initiated to collect pertinent data into a project history database as projects close. This presentation outlines some findings and challenges regarding the process for collecting and using company specific project history data to produce better estimates, and thereby improving predictability, agility, and speed of project delivery.

Dan Horvath is a Project Planning Analyst Lead on the Initiation Center of Excellence Team at Progressive Insurance. In this capacity, Mr. Horvath facilitates project benchmarking, performs data analysis, and produces project estimates based on the data. Mr. Horvath has a background in application development, project management and software metrics, including function point analysis. Mr. Horvath has written articles, taught courses, and presented papers on project management and functional sizing and metrics, including presentations at ISMA7, ISMA10 and ISMA14. Prior to joining Progressive, Mr. Horvath was a senior consultant at Q/P Management Group and has also worked at Electronic Data Systems and General Electric. Mr. Horvath maintains Project Management Professional and Certified Function Point Specialist credentials.

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