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How to Estimate Projects When You Don’t Know The Requirements? DPM Roundtable

By 15/04/2019 September 15th, 2021 No Comments

Before hiring your agency, clients need numbers—but how to estimate projects when you don’t know the requirements? No matter what, you’ll need to be able to tell a client how much a project is likely to cost and how long it’s going to take. But how do you make an accurate estimate if you don’t know what’s involved? What if the requirements are incomplete because you’ll discover them along the way?

It’s tempting to assume that working to the Scrum framework or agile principles will make estimating easier. On the contrary: trying to follow a strict Scrum process doesn’t set up our agency with the up-front clarity that clients want when whipping out their cheque books.

In our first round table discussion, members of the DPM community from around the world get together and talk about how they approach estimation. We go over solutions for the common question that we all ask as digital project managers:

“How do you come up with an accurate estimate when all the requirements aren’t defined?”

We also touch on a few more project estimation questions, such as:

  • How do you handle changes to the original project estimate?
  • What is analogous estimating? (We discuss an analogous estimating example)
  • In agile or Scrum, how do you communicate your project charges to the client?
  • Should an agency charge for project discovery?
  • How do you deal with all of the unknowns when estimating projects? (Hint: a solid requirements gathering process has a lot to do with it)

Watch the video here, and share your insight in the comments section. In the round table, we referenced several of our expert DPM articles—links to those resources are below.

Watch the DPM Roundtable:

Ben Aston

Ben Aston

I’m Ben Aston, a digital project manager and founder of thedigitalprojectmanager.com. I've been in the industry for more than 15 years working in the UK at London’s top digital agencies including Dare, Wunderman, Lowe and DDB. I’ve delivered everything from film to CMS', games to advertising and eCRM to eCommerce sites. I’ve been fortunate enough to work across a wide range of great clients; automotive brands including Land Rover, Volkswagen and Honda; Utility brands including BT, British Gas and Exxon, FMCG brands such as Unilever, and consumer electronics brands including Sony.

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