Project Estimation & Execution

The instructor, Joe Gecas is an energetic project manager in Starbucks. He managed to rush 50+ slides in around 2 hours, not a big fan of his presentation styles. We all know the project scheduling in some sense, it will be more valuable to see how project manager leverage the tools, primarily Microsoft Project in the battlefield to automate the tedious progress tracking. But the two classes about Microsoft Project is not well organized, nor informative. Also the Earned Value analysis in my opinion is the most essential insight of the project progress, but it is scheduled in the last class, shamefully not fully covered.

Session 1 - Network Diagram

The goal for network diagram is to

  • identify the task dependencies(mandatory, discretionary and external)
  • find the critical path

The dependency types:

  • FS: Finish to Start
  • FF: Finish to Finish
  • SS: Start to Start

Session 2 - Activity Resource Estimating and Assignments

RAM - Resource Assignment Matrix

Resource Leveling: utilizing available slack.

Resource smoothing: extend the deadline or careful use of overtime.

Session 3 - Activity Duration Estimating

Hints for better estimation:

  • historical data
  • crowd witness
  • range of estimate


  • PERT
  • Delphi
  • Expert

The PERT uses

duration = (P + 4M + O) / 6
std deviation = (P - O) / 6

What is the scientific proof behind this?

Risk contingency is reported at activity level or work package level.

Crashing a schedule is just accelerating production in Civ.

Session 4 - Project Scheduling and Microsoft Project

Identify the critical path and float, aka late start - early start.

MS Project UI tour

Session 5 - Microsoft Project Scheduling Continued

See the slide.

Session 6 - Critical Chain Project Management

Critical chain takes both task dependency and resource dependency into account.

Session 7 - Project Cost Estimating/Project Budgeting

Types of cost:

  • Direct
  • Indirect
  • Variable
  • Fixed

The estimation methodology is pretty much like duration estimation.

Session 8 - Project Baselines/Project Execution

  • Define the baseline for schedule, scope and cost
  • Identify the variance to monitor the project health
  • Update the baseline to reflect the change.

Session 9 - Change Management

Formalize the change request workflow.

Session 10 - Monitoring and Controlling

If you are stuck in 15% of the time, you will stay there. Thus 7 milestones are required.

A quantitative way to monitor the progress and cost is Earned Value.

Session 11 - Earned Value Management


The slides are hosted in Google Drive for personal reference.