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Define Standards for Initial Project Estimates

Summary

Early in the planning cycle, large projects must go through some form of analysis to determine whether they will be given approval to proceed. 

Creation of a preliminary estimate can be an iterative process. The dispatcher might conclude that there is insufficient information to make an informed estimate and might route the request back to the requester for clarification or send it on to a specialist for analysis before deciding on the work type. Frequently, the project manager or Project Management Office (PMO) will be called upon to provide an initial order of magnitude, or conceptual estimate of time, cost, risk, effort, technical approach, etc. This information forms the ‘cost’ component of the cost-benefit analysis. While other attributes are also considered; for example, strategic fit, priority, or expected benefit, having a reasonable estimate of what it will take to provide the deliverable is, arguably, one of the most important elements of effective investment analysis. 

This best practice explores considerations and guidelines for defining standards for initial conceptual estimates for projects.

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