Estimation Tools and Techniques - Part-I

Estimation tools and techniques are one of the key important topics for the PMP certification exam. These are used across many process groups, that are defined in PMBOK. Also, from a general project management perspective, these tool and techniques are beneficial in doing various project-related estimations. In this article, we will list these tools and techniques, across multiple processes and will learn how to remember them from the exam’s perspective. These tool and techniques are used in the following three processes [Knowledge Area]:

  • Estimate Activity Resources. [ Time Management ]
  • Estimate Activity Durations. [ Time Management ]
  • Estimate Costs. [ Cost Management ]

In brief, the definition of above processes can be understood as – Estimate Activity Resources à Estimate the resources (i.e., people, material, machines, and supplies) required to perform each activity in the project. Estimate Activity Durations à Estimate the time each activity will take to finish. Estimate Costs à Estimate the monetary resources needed to complete project activities.

Estimation Tools and Techniques

Estimate Activity Resource Process:

There are 5 - tools and techniques for the Estimate Activity Resources process

  1. Expert Judgment
  2. Alternatives analysis
  3. Bottom-Up Estimating
  4. Published Estimating Data
  5. Project Management Software

Estimate Activity Duration Process:

There are 5 - tools and techniques for Estimate Activity Duration process

  1. Expert Judgment
  2. Analogous Estimating (or Top-Down Estimating )
  3. Parametric Estimating ( or Quantitatively based Estimating)
  4. Three-point Estimates
  5. Reserve Analysis (or Contingency Analysis)

Estimate Costs Process:

There are 9 - tools and techniques for the Estimate Costs process

  1. Expert Judgment
  2. Analogous Estimating (or Top-Down Estimating )
  3. Three-point Estimates
  4. Parametric Estimating
  5. Bottom-up Estimating
  6. Reserve Analysis
  7. Cost of Quality
  8. Project Management Software Estimation Techniques
  9. Vendor Bid Analysis

So, in total, there are 11 Unique Estimation tools and techniques – as listed below (in alphabetical order)

Tool / Technique Name

Count it has been

Used across 3 Processes

Name of the process used in

Alternatives Analysis

1

Estimate Activity Resources

Analogous Estimating

2

Estimate Activity Duration

Estimate Costs

Bottom-up Estimating

2

Estimate Activity Resources

Estimate Costs

Cost of Quality

1

Estimate Costs

Expert Judgment

3

Estimate Activity Resources

Estimate Activity Duration

Estimate Costs

Parametric Estimating

2

Estimate Activity Duration

Estimate Costs

Project Management Estimating Software

2

Estimate Activity Resources

Estimate Costs

Published Estimating Data

1

Estimate Activity Resources

Reserve Analysis

2

Estimate Activity Duration

Estimate Costs

Three-point Estimates

2

Estimate Activity Duration

Estimate Costs

Vendor Bid Analysis

1

Estimate Costs


From PMP exam perspective you have to remember estimation tools and techniques at the individual process level and above table may help you to inter-relate them & to avoid confusion when you see same tool and technique across multiple processes. After looking at the above table, one can recognize that – (take note of them as Tips)

  • Expert Judgment technique is used across all three processes.
  • Cost of quality and Vendor Bid Analysis (can be remembered as CV) are used only in Estimate costs process.
  • Apart from Expert Judgment, there is NO common tool or technique between Estimate Activity Duration and Estimate Activity Resources.
  • Tools and Techniques for Estimate Activity Duration process can be remembered in short form as – DEPART ( can be thought as a term related to time )

Duration – Expert judgment, Parametric, Analogous, Reserve analysis, Three Point

  • Tools and Techniques for Estimate Activity Resources process can be remembered as:

    a) Leave PART from DEPART (the one you learned above for tools and techniques of estimate duration) from the list of 11 unique tools an techniques.
    b) Remember, Expert judgment is common to all.
    c) Also, leave Cost of quality and Vendor Bid Analysis which are associated with estimate cost process only from the list of 11.
    d) The remaining four tools and techniques, out of total 11 unique tool and techniques listed in the above table, are what you will be used in the Estimate Activity Resources process. In the next part of this article, we will try to learn more details about the 11 unique tools and techniques.

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