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  • How can I Know when a project will end

    When my Boss will ask me when this project should end . The GTD methodolgy does not give me any way to estimate that time

  • #2
    After reviewing the depths and breath of the project, I then give a best guess-timate of when I think the project will be completed. I always build in extra time due to the inevitable unforeseen interruptions that inevitably will occur.

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    • #3
      GTD is not GToE.

      Originally posted by eranmaayan View Post
      When my Boss will ask me when this project should end . The GTD methodolgy does not give me any way to estimate that time
      GTD is not GToE (General Theory of Everything). To estimate the project duration you need an application specific knowledge and experience.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by GTDWorks View Post
        After reviewing the depths and breath of the project, I then give a best guess-timate of when I think the project will be completed. I always build in extra time due to the inevitable unforeseen interruptions that inevitably will occur.
        The question is even if I have I know exactly how much the project will take and even if I know exactly how much my other 15 projects will take I do no know how to estimate with GTD when the project will end given all my other projects and action items . That is the real question

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        • #5
          Originally posted by eranmaayan View Post
          When my Boss will ask me when this project should end.
          Estimating something like this is possibly a good project in its own right.

          Following the natural project model will probably give you everything you need.


          Cheers,
          Roger

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          • #6
            Here's how I would work a time estimate

            An estimate of when a project is due can be very simple or very complex depending on the size of the project and the number of steps, interactions with other people, etc.

            If you are doing weekly reviews with GTD. you will have a much better idea of your existing commitments which should hopefully reduce the amount of effort needed to come up with an answer.

            If it is something that I can do in a few hours, and I don't need input from anyone else, my answer will likely depend on the priority I perceive it to be. If it is really important to my manager, I would just try to work it in during the current or next day as soon as possible. If less critical, maybe within 3-4 days up to a week.

            But let's say this is a more complicated 2 month kind of thing requiring input from other people etc.. I would brainstorm on some paper and sketch out a project plan. Then I would look at my calendar (in case I forgot I was going to be out of town for 2 weeks etc.) and possibly just quickly scan my projects list to get an idea of how the importance of this project stacks up. If input from someone else is significant and vital, I might want to make sure that person is going to be available during the time frame when I will need their participation. At the end, though, it will come down to your gut feeling after looking at the required actions and steps. I would then add more time to whatever I thought it would take because I would rather overdeliver than overpromise. (On the other hand it has to be a time frame your manager will think is reasonable. And if this is a case where your manager knows the answer he/she wants, and you have to guess that, then no system will help you! )

            What I would not do is sit down with a calendar and try to plan out all my work days for the next 2 months. The reason I would not is because efforts like that are doomed to failure. Probably half or more of your time in the next 2 months will be spent on stuff you don't even know about right now! Also, priorities for stuff you do know about may change day by day or even minute to minute.

            Once you commit to your estimate, you then have a high priority to keep this project going so that it will be done on time to avoid damage to your credibility. And if you discover that you absolutely cannot deliver, you should renegotiate with your manager immediately. (And you had better have a really good reason!)

            And here is the key:

            you are not trying to GUESS how long it will take, you are trying to DECIDE when you are going to do it. Your decision may take into account the other things on your plate but it IS still your decision.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by eranmaayan View Post
              When my Boss will ask me when this project should end . The GTD methodolgy does not give me any way to estimate that time
              Here's a good back-of-the-envelope estimate:

              L = least possible time the project could take (most optimistic)
              M = most likely time for the project to take (best guess)
              W = worst case for time project could take (most pessimistic)

              Obviously L < M < W

              Estimated time = (L+3*M+W)/5

              If you can't estimate these 3 times, then you have a project of learning something about project planning....

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              • #8
                Originally posted by eranmaayan View Post
                The question is even if I have I know exactly how much the project will take and even if I know exactly how much my other 15 projects will take I do no know how to estimate with GTD when the project will end given all my other projects and action items . That is the real question
                For that you need a large gantt chart for all projects actions and resources and then toss in a pile more time. Either that or ask your boss when he wants it finished

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                • #9
                  IT experience.

                  Originally posted by mcogilvie View Post
                  Here's a good back-of-the-envelope estimate:

                  L = least possible time the project could take (most optimistic)
                  M = most likely time for the project to take (best guess)
                  W = worst case for time project could take (most pessimistic)

                  Obviously L < M < W

                  Estimated time = (L+3*M+W)/5

                  If you can't estimate these 3 times, then you have a project of learning something about project planning....
                  My IT experience tells me that we should omit the division by 5:

                  Estimated time = L+3*M+W

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by lareaarnett View Post
                    And here is the key:

                    you are not trying to GUESS how long it will take, you are trying to DECIDE when you are going to do it. Your decision may take into account the other things on your plate but it IS still your decision.
                    This is a good answer but it reveals the weakness of GTD. which gives you you a good method/intuition of what you should do now in the light what you have on your plate now but does NOT give you any method of PLANNING multiple projects. That means you have no ability to know when will your new project end or how will it push your current projects if it is high priority. True , your will have better feeling but you can not base it . I just wanted to verify this. I will be glad to be corrected.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by eranmaayan View Post
                      This is a good answer but it reveals the weakness of GTD. which gives you you a good method/intuition of what you should do now in the light what you have on your plate now but does NOT give you any method of PLANNING multiple projects.
                      There are many things that GTD intentionally doesn't provide. As far as I know, David Allen has never suggested that GTD provides what you seek. I could well be mistaken, though; can you please point me to a case where he's done so?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by eranmaayan View Post
                        This is a good answer but it reveals the weakness of GTD. which gives you you a good method/intuition of what you should do now in the light what you have on your plate now but does NOT give you any method of PLANNING multiple projects. That means you have no ability to know when will your new project end or how will it push your current projects if it is high priority. True , your will have better feeling but you can not base it . I just wanted to verify this. I will be glad to be corrected.
                        What Brent said. See also Chapter 3 of the GTD book, on planning, in which DA discusses some of the limits of his back-of-the-envelope planning model.

                        In my experience, the first step in deciding when a project will end is to develop a good estimate of how long it will take. That estimate must come from your own domain-specific knowledge. Only then can you even begin to discuss workload management and planning and scheduling for multiple projects. Seems fundamental, but is actually remarkably difficult.

                        Katherine

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