Estimated Time Best Practices: Project Level vs Task Level

I wanted to see if there were any best practices or theories around using Estimated Time funactionality, specially around sub tasks within a project.

For example I have a Project that has 3 tasks. The overall project will take 60 minutes.

Do you have your project setup as:

Project A - 60 Minutes
Task 1 - No utilization of Estimated Time
Task 2 - No utilization of Estimated Time
Task 3 - No utilization of Estimated Time


Project B - No utlization of Estimated Time
Task 1 - 30 minutes
Task 2 - 10 minutes
Task 3 - 20 minutes

I hope the formatting makes sense. I am not on my laptop. Thanks in advance!

I was actually thinking about this not too long ago. I don’t think there are any “best” practices.

TL;DR - I’ve found that I can get more accurate time estimates by estimating the time for each task (Task 1, Task 2, Task 3) and then total that up. Then I add a little more for buffer. I might need to transition between all the tasks if I am switching between contexts (from the computer desk to the warehouse and back again to the computer desk).

Or I might ask another person who may have done the same project and ask them how long it took them to do it. If it’s your first time doing a new project then I’d have to add some buffer time for me to become familiar with the tools or process. The first time I cook a new recipe, it’ll take me twice as long. As I get better at cooking the recipe, I already know any pitfalls or obstacles that needs to be overcome. My estimated time shrinks as I become more experienced.

That’s the hard part about training someone else to do something that you’re familiar with. It may take you 1.5x or 2x longer to train the new employee. But it will pay dividends later when they start repeating the same project.

I touched on time estimates here…

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In practical terms, I don’t do a project, I do an action, so estimating time at the action level makes sense for tactical planning, whereas at the project level, I think it would be more interesting than helpful.

Reflection upon task completion (was the estimated time accurate/representative?) and then totalling by project (if I routinely do similar projects and this is helpful) might be a good retrospective to learn about future commitments, but I don’t think it would be as effective for setting data about incomplete things.

My two cents only!



I think the only real benefit for me doing time estimates is if I am going to be repeating the project (a group of tasks) in the future. That would give me benefit to determine where I can squeeze a project into my week. Doing time estimates for a single one-off project is a useless exercise.

It’s probably better to ask others who have done a similar project how long it took them and get an idea of how familiar they are with performing and completing that same project.

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Thank you both! Great feedback as always!