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1 Estimating Your Technical Communications Project Controlling Project Results.

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1 1 Estimating Your Technical Communications Project Controlling Project Results

2 2 Estimation as Positioning Estimation as Positioning Estimation and Quality Estimation and Quality Tech Comm Projects to Estimate Tech Comm Projects to Estimate Metrics Metrics Impacts to Project Delivery Impacts to Project Delivery Best Practices Best Practices What Well Cover

3 3 Estimating as Positioning To estimate the time required for a simple project, convert to the next higher unit of measure and multiply by three. For a complex project multiply by the square of the speed of light. To estimate the time required for a simple project, convert to the next higher unit of measure and multiply by three. For a complex project multiply by the square of the speed of light. From William Horton, Hortons Laws From William Horton, Hortons Laws

4 4 Estimation as Positioning Why estimate? Why estimate?

5 5 Estimation as Positioning To get a grip - on the project, on the deadline To get a grip - on the project, on the deadline To set goals and expectations - be on time and under budget To set goals and expectations - be on time and under budget To create a history of quality and reliability To create a history of quality and reliability To add a little job insurance and take your place at the strategic table To add a little job insurance and take your place at the strategic table

6 6 Estimation and Quality Estimation is part art, part math, part experience and part luck. Estimation metrics are essential for developing high quality deliverables. It is our plan enabling us to reach our destination. Estimation is part art, part math, part experience and part luck. Estimation metrics are essential for developing high quality deliverables. It is our plan enabling us to reach our destination. Definition of high quality by client as told to a M & A consultant: …on time, under budget, achieves results… Definition of high quality by client as told to a M & A consultant: …on time, under budget, achieves results…

7 7 Tech Comm Projects to Estimate Technical Publications in all forms Technical Publications in all forms Online Help or Web Help Online Help or Web Help E-Learning E-Learning Live or Self-Instruction Live or Self-Instruction Web Sites Web Sites Changes or Improvements Changes or Improvements

8 8 Metrics – Industry Standard ProjectMetric User Guide 5 hrs/page Reference Manual 4 hrs/page Hardware Maintenance or Troubleshooting Manual 8 hrs/page Context-sensitive Help 4 hrs/topic Video Taped Instruction 30 hrs/minute CBT 60 hrs/hour From Joann Hackos Managing Your Technical Documentation Project, page 170

9 9 Metrics - Technical Documentation Standard technical documentation Standard technical documentation Six pages per day if template already developed and most of the research completed (1.34 hours per page) Six pages per day if template already developed and most of the research completed (1.34 hours per page) 2.5 hours per page if you need to include template design and research 2.5 hours per page if you need to include template design and research Assumes MSWord or other simple tool Assumes MSWord or other simple tool

10 10 Metrics - Online or Web-based Help Depends on the number and complexity of the screens Depends on the number and complexity of the screens Ideal screens - context sensitive should take ¾ to 1½ hours per screen Ideal screens - context sensitive should take ¾ to 1½ hours per screen Dense screens with heavy graphics required can take 2 to 3 hours per screen Dense screens with heavy graphics required can take 2 to 3 hours per screen

11 11 Metrics – CBT or WBT E-Learning hours of development time per one hour of seat time a national average - Brian Chapman of Brandon Hall E-Learning hours of development time per one hour of seat time a national average - Brian Chapman of Brandon Hall CBT or E-Learning hours of development time per one hour of seat time for a moderate end product - Michaels & Associates CBT or E-Learning hours of development time per one hour of seat time for a moderate end product - Michaels & Associates

12 12 A Third Estimate hours of development time for 1 hour of instructional time hours of development time for 1 hour of instructional time. Course Development Costs Dave Smulders, Volume 1, Number 1, Spring 2004 Ideal: Design for Learning, Newsletter for the STC instructional design sig

13 13 Metrics - IBT Live instruction - from 18 to 40 hours of development time per one hour of seat time Live instruction - from 18 to 40 hours of development time per one hour of seat time Varies for basic materials through very technical content (Java Training) Varies for basic materials through very technical content (Java Training) Michaels & Associates Michaels & Associates

14 14 Why are the rules of thumb so vastly different?

15 15 Controllable Variables Tool Complexity Tool Complexity Developer knowledge of tools Developer knowledge of tools Developer pace Developer pace Research and orientation, development methodology Research and orientation, development methodology Template design, development and approval Template design, development and approval Communication tools and processes Communication tools and processes

16 16 Controllable Variables for E- Learning Interactivity Interactivity High-end vs. low-end High-end vs. low-end Competency testing Competency testing AICC & SCORM compliance issues; how they are addressed in the tools AICC & SCORM compliance issues; how they are addressed in the tools Use of talent, tours, movies Use of talent, tours, movies

17 17 Uncontrollable Variables Subject Matter Expert availability and/or cooperation Subject Matter Expert availability and/or cooperation Management review and/or approval process Management review and/or approval process System availability and/or downtime System availability and/or downtime Business processes in a state of flux and/or undetermined Business processes in a state of flux and/or undetermined

18 18 Influencing the Uncontrollable Variables System Availability System Availability Add 10% to your estimate if: Add 10% to your estimate if: Developing system/software is not at least 80% complete Developing system/software is not at least 80% complete Developing system/software is not stable Developing system/software is not stable Access to system/software is not reliable Access to system/software is not reliable System downtime is more than ½ hr daily System downtime is more than ½ hr daily

19 19 Best Practices Revise, Report, Renegotiate when: Revise, Report, Renegotiate when: Subject matter experts are unavailable or uncooperative Subject matter experts are unavailable or uncooperative System downtime is more than ½ hour per day System downtime is more than ½ hour per day Reviewers do not review deliverables within set timelines Reviewers do not review deliverables within set timelines Changes and revisions are outside scope Changes and revisions are outside scope

20 20 Best Practices Get control of the deadline. Get control of the deadline. Manage your controllable variables. Manage your controllable variables. Uncontrollable variables: build them in, set expectations or charge for it (internal charges can be an effective method of control). Uncontrollable variables: build them in, set expectations or charge for it (internal charges can be an effective method of control). Do not assume more developers are a net add. Do not assume more developers are a net add.

21 21 Questions

22 22 Thank You!


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