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Mary Kathrine Padua

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A project manager meets with a customer for initial discussions about an upcoming project. At the end of the meeting, the customer asks the project manager for a rough estimate of the project duration. Based on her experience with three similar projects, the project manager provides an estimate of 8-10 months.

What estimation technique does the project manager use?

A. Expert judgment
B. Three-point estimating
C. Analogous estimating
D. Bottom-up estimating

HINT: Identify the estimating technique that compares a project to a previous, similar project.

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Answer and Explanation:
The correct answer is C.

The project manager is using historical duration information from comparable projects to estimate the duration of a future project.

This gross value estimating approach is called analogous estimating and is frequently used to provide a ballpark figure when there is a limited amount of detailed information available about the project.

Details for each option:

A. Incorrect. In a sense, the project manager is using expert judgment due to her experience. However, because she is basing her duration estimate on three similar projects, analogous estimating is a better answer choice.

B. Incorrect. Three-point estimating would require the project manager to collect optimistic, pessimistic and most likely duration estimates to calculate a projected time frame for the work. Since the project manager was required to provide a 'rough' estimate on the spot, analogous estimating is a better technique since the project manager is familiar with the time it took to complete similar projects.

C. Correct. The project manager is using analogous estimating, which is a common technique used to provide a rough estimate on a future project based on parameters from previous, similar projects. In this scenario, the duration from the three previous projects was used as the basis for estimating the duration of the upcoming project.

D. Incorrect. Bottom-up estimating would be the most thorough technique but would take the longest time. Also, this method is typically used when estimates cannot be made with a high degree of confidence. Since the project manager has historical information available, analogous estimating would satisfy the customer's request for a 'rough' estimate.

Reference: A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) – Sixth Edition, Project Management Institute Inc., 2017, Page(s) 200

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