TLDR. In any company, whether small or large, a smooth internal workflow is essential to deliver results on time. To achieve this, planning is crucial, and effort estimation is one of the primary steps. While this method is commonly associated with development teams, its benefits can be adapted to other departments as well. In this article, we will explore the effort estimation technique, its complexity points, and how it can be implemented within your company.
Effort estimation is a process used in software development to evaluate both the resources and time required to reach an objective. Basically, it helps teams to plan, prioritize, and allocate resources efficiently. The method involves breaking down an objective into smaller tasks and estimating the effort required for each task. It is an essential part of project planning, because it encourages teams to set realistic goals and deadlines. And the effort estimation process is expressed in complexity points: think of complexity points like the factors that influence the difficulty of an objective. These factors include the required skills, expertise, and technology.
While complexity points can make the estimation process challenging, they also provide benefits such as:
- identifying potential bottlenecks,
- improving communication,
- increasing team collaboration,
- providing a clearer structure
These benefits can be applied to other departments as well. For example, let’s say your marketing department wants to implement an end to end campaign. By evaluating the effort required for a task, you can plan and allocate resources efficiently. You’ll be able to estimate how much effort is needed for each step of the way, like brainstorming the main message, creating the images or video, setting up the tracking parameters and finally launching the campaign. This way you’ll be able to have a clear picture of the timeline: when it would be realistic to expect the campaign to be fully set up and running. This reduces the risk of overcommitting and underestimating project timelines. Additionally, this approach helps you prioritize tasks based on their complexity, allowing you to focus on critical tasks first.
Extending complexity points to other departments
Adapting the effort estimation process to other departments can help to create a more predictable growth curve for your company. For example, by applying this technique, your marketing team can set realistic goals and track their progress more effectively. This optimizes their marketing strategy and drives better results. Here is one way of approaching this:
- To start implementing effort estimation within your company, begin by identifying the usual or repetitive tasks that need to be completed. For example, this could include tasks such as creating social media posts or email campaigns. Once you have identified these tasks, estimate their complexity points based on factors such as the required skills, expertise, and technology. This will serve as an etalon.
- Next, add an effort and a similar task column to your task board. In the effort column, estimate the amount of time and resources required to complete each task based on their complexity points. In the similar task column, group similar tasks together to identify patterns and areas for improvement.
- To estimate the complexity points, you can use a simple scale from 1 to 5, where one is the least complex and five is the most complex. When evaluating complexity points, consider the skill level and resources required to complete the task. Use historical data to help you asses the complexity points accurately.
In conclusion, effort estimation is a crucial aspect of internal workflow that helps a company achieve predictable and sustainable growth. Although it is commonly used in software development, it can be extrapolated to other departments as well. While the method may seem daunting at first, the benefits it provides are well worth the effort. With practice, you can refine your estimation skills and create a more accurate and effective effort estimation. Good luck!