How Changing our Estimation Process Took our Project Endgame from WTF? to FTW!

Ashleigh Thevenet

We would all love to be all Agile, all time and materials, all the time.  But the reality is that many projects are fixed bids.  Fixed bids come with one major flaw:  it's difficult to accurately estimate a project based on an RFP.  We will look at a case where client expectations and overall project budget were mismanaged, resulting in a failed project with an unsatisfied client.  This project caused us to think about and revise our project process.  

We came to the conclusion that we needed to implement project estimate revisions at two key points in our discovery and design phase, and improve client expectation management through increased transparency.  These estimate revisions are coupled with thorough technical planning and provide several key deliverables for the client and tools for our internal team.  With this new process in place, we have been able to improve our estimate accuracy rate to within 10% of total project hours.  This has made for happy clients who get their MVP within budget and are informed and empowered as decision makers throughout the project process.   

Takeaways from this session for attendees:

  • How not to manage a fixed bid budget
  • How to implement a two-tiered process for greater estimation accuracy

  • How to deal with scope / budget incompatibility

  • How to empower your client to make prioritization decisions

  • Pitfalls to avoid with this process, learned over a year of implementation

Session Track

Project Management

Experience Level


Drupal Version

When & Where

Wednesday, 23 September, 2015 - 10:45 to 11:45
112: Exove