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Estimating during the heatwave

With the canicule that France is suffering from at the moment, the weather is the talk of the town. The heatwave has surpassed the general French favourite of food as the topic of the moment and it is one good reason to work long hours – at least we have air conditioning in the office which makes life bearable. The top temperatures are water-cooler subjects: is it 34 degrees outside or 33? Frankly it’s too hot, but it has made me realise one thing: I am no good at estimating.

In fact, I’ve always known it. I can’t tell how hot it is apart from cold, fine or hot. I can’t tell you how far it is between here and Brittany, or the dimensions of my front room. I don’t know how tall people are aside from shorter than me or taller than me. And as I’m 5ft2 that puts most people in the ‘taller than me’ category. On the subject of people, I’m rubbish with ages too. The only thing I can estimate is time.

Estimating time allows me to participate in all the normal day-to-day conversations where I am expected to make an informed contribution: how hot is it? I’ll be too hot in 5 minutes. How far is it? I can walk there in 15 minutes. Admittedly, it doesn’t help too much with height and age (how old is he? He looks like he’s been alive for 1,555 weeks…).

It does help with projects though. Making an educated guess about project tasks is quite a good skill to have. I’ll be talking more about that later in the week.

About Elizabeth Harrin

Elizabeth HarrinElizabeth Harrin is a Fellow of the Association for Project Management in the UK and the award-winning blogger behind A Girl's Guide To Project Management. She's passionate about demystifying project management and making tools and techniques work in the real world. She's also the author of several books including the PMI bestseller, Collaboration Tools for Project Managers.


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