This Guest article was submitted for publication April 7, 2021.
It is copyright to Payson Hall.
Published here January 2022.

Introduction | Simple Enough? | Estimating
The Big Picture | Take a Closer Look | Conclusion

Payson Hall has built a successful career in software development and systems integration. He developed an interest in providing better information to decision makers on how to allocate resources to projects, how projects are progressing, and whether continued investment is prudent. He has worked as project manager, coach to project managers, and project oversight consultant (reviewer) on a variety of projects in the public and private sectors during the past 35 years. He may be reached at (916-761-4753). Web site: For further information see


Imagine you have a new project, and you ask your subject matter expert (SME) to estimate a task:

"Maria, how many days should I allocate for task X?"

She thinks for a moment, asks a few clarifying questions, then thoughtfully responds,

"Probably twelve days

You dutifully capture this number for later integration into your schedule, happy that you didn't have to pull teeth to get an answer. But now check your notes. Your notes probably say something like,

"Task X = 12 days"


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