What do you remember about the most ambitious projects, like cathedrals? They weren’t just built by fanatics but through tireless planning. For instance, how would the building end up looking if there wasn’t enough marble to go around, or the foundation wasn’t level? It wouldn’t end up being a very nice place to look at.
Estimation is the precursor to any great work and my boss has taught me that even smaller home projects like vegetable planters need a degree of engineering. How frustrating it would be, to have to take multiple trips to Lowes to snag the right tools, hardware & wood. What if I arrived there and they didn’t have the boards I needed?
For these reasons, estimation should be considered in any type of project. Project planning tools like JIRA include estimated time and logged time – use these fields vigorously since they don’t cost anything extra to track, and you can get an idea of where your snags are.
Time tracking can also minimize distractions.
In addition, if you know you’ll never get to the destination with the gas you have in your tank, you can plan your stops accordingly. Yes, the moral of the story is to plan! Estimation is only one part of the picture, and there are undoubtedly many estimation tools that could serve your needs. The hardest part is getting started.