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The Pre-Estimate Checklist: 5 Things You Need To Know Before Creating A Cost Estimate

The Pre-Estimate Checklist: 5 Things You Need To Know Before Creating A Cost Estimate

As project managers, we can find ourselves on the phone to a client (as they’re going down the lift so we can’t hear them properly), being asked to give them a number; ‘So I need an app – basically like Facebook but a bit different. How much will that be? Can you tell me how much today? I REALLY need to know today. OK? What? I can’t hear you. Just send me the number in the next house. Thanks so much Bye’. But before you do start scrambling around to create a cost estimate, or give any numbers, review this checklist:

  1. Know the project
  2. Have a budget
  3. Have a plan
  4. Know why you’re estimating
  5. Know what kind of estimate you need

1. Know The Project

Before you start estimating anything, the first thing you need to get your heard around is why you’re doing the project in the first place. You have to understand the client’s brief, what they’re trying to achieve, and why – you need to understand the desired results of the project and what success looks like to them. Without that basic understanding of the strategic objectives of the project, it’s difficult to know where to put an emphasis of effort in the project.

2. Have A Project Budget

It’s good to have some sense of a client’s budget, before you start doing anything.  But often a client will claim they don’t know their project budget.

So when they say they don’t know, it just means you’ll need to discuss a few options – start high, find out what’s above their project budget, and work down from there.  Even if they don’t think they’ve got a budget, they obviously will have some idea what they think they’re willing to pay for something, and what they’re not.

But if you can help a client at least work out the limits of their project budget it’ll save a lot of time from having to look at all the possible options, save a lot of time so you can get on with the actual project much faster.