Mistake 7 - Failing to Review … Before, During and After
Unless you or your company has developed a check and balance system, there's a tendency to put everything together in an estimate, look it through once or twice and then send it out. Sometimes the deadline to get the estimate to the customer is looming, the pressure is on and you need to deliver it. It's happened to all of us - we spend a lot of time and effort putting together an estimate, we believe we've got everything covered and 4 pm on Friday is coming up. There isn't time to get Bob to look it over, you're pretty sure everything is in, and so you forward it on to your customer. But, as we mentioned in Mistake #6, mistakes will occur - we're human, not perfect, and inevitably, we will overlook or miss something in our estimate.
How to avoid this mistake -
Get a second set of eyes
Before you send your estimate out to bid or present it to your customer, ask a knowledgeable peer or colleague to look it over for you. Show them the drawings or RFQ; physically walk them through your construction project if possible. A fresh and objective review has a better probability of picking out any items that you missed. This could be a task that has been forgotten, an estimating error that has been overlooked, or maybe a scope or schedule plan that may need to be reconsidered. Explain your risk factors to them and encourage them to challenge you on your assumptions.
As your project progresses, consistently prepare forecasts and review your results for signs that your expected project result may differ from your estimate. Investigate significant cost variances to understand where your original estimate was incorrect. Understand what your cost variances mean and use that knowledge to take action in your current project, and to improve your estimate the next time around.
When your construction project has completed, perform a thorough retrospective on it and get others in your team that are knowledgeable on the project to participate. Make it a part of your project closing process and use your findings to improve your estimating assumptions.