paint-brush
How to Unlock Project Success: Using the FATE Framework to Master Task Estimationby@dainemawer
130 reads

How to Unlock Project Success: Using the FATE Framework to Master Task Estimation

by Daine MawerMarch 13th, 2024
Read on Terminal Reader
Read this story w/o Javascript
tldt arrow

Too Long; Didn't Read

Estimation of tasks is a vital project management activity for front-end engineers and engineering managers. It involves estimating the time and effort required to complete the different activities within the project. Recently, I put together a tiny framework called F.A.T.E that assists with this approach.
featured image - How to Unlock Project Success: Using the FATE Framework to Master Task Estimation
Daine Mawer HackerNoon profile picture

TL;DR: Task estimation is an art that every front-end engineer and engineering manager should master. With a well-structured framework that covers F.A.T.E (Feedback, Admin, Technical, Engineering), you can give accurate timelines, optimize resource allocation, and, most importantly, deliver a happy client.

Introduction

Estimation of tasks is a vital project management activity for front-end engineers and engineering managers. It involves estimating the time and effort required to complete the different activities within the project.


In this guide, we will discuss a systematic approach to estimation tasks, reviewing each critical activity and how it contributes to project delivery success. Recently, I put together a tiny framework called F.A.T.E that assists with this approach.


Feedback, Admin, Technical, Engineering (in no particular order)


Let's reverse the acronym as we describe its benefits, as it makes more chronological sense.

Engineering

In general, the task estimation for coding should follow these rules:

  • the complexity of the work,

  • familiarity with the technology stack,

  • potential difficulties, and dependencies.


Engineers must segment work into small, easily managed chunks and provide a realistic timeframe to bind each part. Consider the experience, scope, and probable risks involved with the team members that will affect the coding process in the project.

Technical

Code review is one of the critical steps in quality code output, bug identification, vulnerability identification, and even team knowledge sharing. So, engineers must place due importance on the code review process.


Often, this means taking on feedback and making the required code iteration within the provided timeline.


Senior engineers should take this into account during this process. All team members' knowledge must be considered during the code review process to produce constructive feedback so that quality and efficiency are enhanced.

Admin

The following may sound tedious, but managing and organizing the project is necessary. Engineers should estimate time to:


  • update task boards,

  • document progress,

  • go to meetings, and finally,

  • do your admin overhead.


Implement effective workflows and tools to optimize admin processes, reducing the time spent on non-development activities. Proper administration ensures that personnel concentrate on core development activities and that the project is delivered on time and within budget.

Feedback

Quality assurance is vital for delivering a high-quality product to clients—plan when comprehensive testing is done across devices, browsers, and user scenarios. Be highly judicious in using automation tools to eliminate repetitive testing, and always have enough time to perform manual testing.


Q.A. activities should cover functional, usability, performance, and security in all project domains.


Suggest rounds of feedback and plan for some time between each feedback round to finalize changes according to client requirements. Set proper communication lines with clients to help with feedback management and timely response. Modify estimates, if needed, according to the feedback to maintain the project time scale and deliverables.


Engaging the client through an estimation process helps develop the most appropriate estimates, leading to meeting client expectations and upbeat project delivery.

Benefits of Using This Framework

Accuracy: Towards accurate estimation of the task in concern of all the activities of the project and the possible challenges through a structured framework.


Transparency: Placing transparent, detailed estimates before the clients helps in smooth communication, which, in return, helps gain trust and confidence in the project delivery.


Efficiency: Improved project efficiency, hence delivery in reduced time, is achieved by the structured way of estimating tasks and allocating workflow management resources.


Mitigation of risk: Anticipating possible risks and challenges will provide better ways to handle and mitigate them, reducing potential delays and disruptions in the project.

Drawbacks of Not Using the Framework

Underestimation: The estimation in an ad-hoc approach to project tasks often leads to underestimating the resources and timelines, thus running out of time and causing client dissatisfaction.


Scope Creep: Poor estimation may lead to scope creep, which means adding new tasks and requirements to the project without planning. Often, this can cause project delays and, eventually, budget overruns.


Misallocation of resources: Inefficient estimation practices lead to an inefficient allocation of resources, which leads to overwork or idleness, which affects productivity and the project.


Poor client satisfaction: This finally results in poor client satisfaction since the estimation is inaccurate and less transparent, which spoils relations and reputation in the long run.

Additional Insights

Engineering: One should estimate the time of the coding task depending on the team dynamics, skill levels, and how complex the project will be for one to set realistic and achievable timelines.


Technical: Ensure you allow reasonable time for code reviews, which is necessary for maintaining good code quality, sharing, and learning among the team.


Admin: Streamline through admin processes to minimize overheads, allowing time spent on core development activities, improved project efficiency, and quicker delivery.


Feedback: Ensure all these are covered in scenarios through testing and simultaneously deliver a resilient and reliable product using both automated and manual means. Establish clear communication channels with clients to manage feedback on changes in their project plans and timelines.

Conclusion

Estimation is an essential exercise in project management for engineering teams where it is possible to make precise estimations that help optimize the delivery of resources for successful deliveries. You can create exact estimates with the help of a structured framework that considers all project activities, probable risks, and customer feedback.


Remember to communicate very clearly with your clients and all the relevant stakeholders at different stages of the project lifecycle, making changes in the estimates wherever required to cope with changing requirements and expectations.


A clear and systematic approach to task estimation would improve the overall project results, client satisfaction, and your image as a trustworthy service provider.


By considering the entire engineering team and leveraging the FATE framework, you have all the insights needed to master task estimation and successfully deliver projects.