Expected Activity Time Period
To define the required time to finish any task, you must know the resource available to perform the work according to the required quality, and to do that you must know the following:
• Know the task volume and if it can be measured. It will be better, for example, to calculate the time required to prepare the wood form to pour 100 m3 of concrete into the foundation. From that we can figure the task volume.
• Define the work required by hours, days, or weeks to finish this activity, noting that the number of workers should be identified, and consider the capability for each worker to perform the task alone.
Measuring the working capacity for each worker will usually take days. Take care from traps, such as the idea that you should decrease the capacity of work per day by about 50%, as all the hours per day do not focus on the project’s activities as there is a lot of time wasted in meetings, special discussions, restroom breaks, eating, and others. Moreover, there is some delay in the work itself.
Now define the time period for each task, but take care from other traps when putting the schedule in the calendar because the total time period will be different due to the following factors:
• Official vacations and holidays
• Annual leave for employees
• Some days the project will stop.
It is worth mentioning that defining the performance rate of each activity depends on a normal rate, which is found in textbooks or standard guidelines for some contractor companies. But it is essential to take any information from others who have extensive experience, work in the same country or the same location, or have experience working on similar, previous projects.
When you need information from individuals or experts, remember that, often, time estimates are very inaccurate. This does not, however, mean that you should, in every case, take someone to task for misjudging their time estimates. For instance, when someone
says that the expected time for the activity was 18 days, but he finished it in 10 days, this can be a motivation for him on future jobs.
As a rule of thumb, no one can work 100% of his or her time, because about 20-50% of time is wasted in the following activities:
• Attending meetings that we don’t really need to attend
• Spontaneous office visits
• Opening and reading mail and email
• Searching for specific information
• Providing assistance or advice to others
• Equipment failure, such as a computer, printers, and others
• Daily regular activity
• Misunderstanding between team members
• A lack of clear specification or scope of work
• New specification to quality
• Attending a training course or seminar