Life On Contract: Estimating Project Time

You sit there, irritation bubbling deep within as minute forty-five of the meeting ticks past on the clock in the corner of the office. Fight or flight is in a contest with your attention span as you struggle to keep an interested look on your face while they drone on. Real work could be done in this time. Maybe if you go to the bathroom you could sort of… fast forward the meeting. Panicked thinking continues for a bit until your awareness snaps back to the babble of words in the room.

“How long will it take you to do this?” the manager asks.

“A couple of days maybe?” You reply in turn. The manager nods and you take your escape. Little do you know that you have failed.

The project swerves out of control. Two days on the dot the manager is there expecting results. How? How did this happen again? It felt right! Two days is all you’d need to do such a simple project. It ended up taking a week.

The next meeting you say two weeks just to be sure. Everyone nods gravely, upset that something would take so long, but the work must be done. Two days later you sheepishly wander into the manager’s office with a completed project. He looks pleased but confused. The next meeting, he insists that you can do it in half the time. You and your fragile pride bowl ahead only to deliver late. The mystery!

This was my life until I started bugging the more experienced around me. I learned a lot from them and I ended up distilling it down into a few rules.

  1. There Is No Other Unit Than Hours
  2. Be honest.
  3. Get Granular.
  4. Promise a Range. Give a Deadline.

Why?

Why does someone want a time estimate? What are they going to do with this information? When working on a contract job it often feels like sticking a foot in a trap when a time estimate is given. Are they going to hold me to this? What if it goes wrong? After all, we are not fortune tellers. Unless the manager is extremely bad or you show yourself to be extremely lax in your duties, it is unlikely that a time estimate will be used against you.

Credit XKCD: http://xkcd.com/1425/
Source: XKCD #1425

At the end of the day the manager needs a time estimate because he needs to know when to move people and he needs to manage costs. For example, let’s say he asks for something he imagines to be simple. Suddenly you offer a time that’s far far more than he expects. He may immediately scratch that feature off the list completely. As an inexperienced engineer I used to take this as slight on my abilities. Surely if I were better I could do it faster, but he’s just making a cost judgement. He knows that engineering time costs money.

Likewise, maybe he has Jim from down the hall working on a mating feature. If you’re time is far off he may assign another engineer to help you or change Jim’s specification.

Most importantly a time estimate is there to protect you. It’s likely that you have been asked to do a task because you are an expert. You’ve done this before. You know how long it’s going to take. There is no way that you can explain to your boss all the intricacies of your particular task. Nor is there any need to burden them with that information. If a proper time estimate is given and you are known to be a person who delivers within the range promised then it is rare that you will ever be questioned in a hostile way about your progress.

There Is No Other Unit Than Hours

No engineering estimate should ever be calculated and given in anything other than hours.

We get paid in hours. We are billed in hours. We spend hours to complete a task. A day, a month, next week, a couple, a few, a bit, are all meaningless and terrible ways to communicate and calculate work time.

Once upon a time when I was new to all this I opened up Microsoft Outlook and checked my calendar. I had just learned the concept of estimating in hours and I was eager to put it to the test. I had a rough estimate of twenty hours and I was eager to tell my boss I could get the work done in three days. 8 hours of work a day is 24 hours, right? I would even have some buffer time.

I use a time tracker app like timely to track my exact hours. If I get up to use the bathroom I click stop.
I use a time tracker app like timely to track my exact hours. If I get up to use the bathroom I click stop.

Taking a serious look at my calendar I was horrified to discover that I had at best a mere five hours of time to actually sit and design on my best days. On a regular day meetings, lunches, other duties, and more would leave me with a mere three real hours of working time to do anything in. Admittedly this company loved to waste time with nonsense work, but that’s beside the point.

In the end my experience has been that most people working at their absolute limit can only extract four to six real hours of, “pencil actually on the paper and moving deliberately,” work out of the nine hours a day they spend at work.  It’s just the way it works out. I ended up giving an estimate of the next Friday as being the most likely time I could deliver on the project if my schedule remained clear, but that I would give him a clearer estimate Monday depending on how the next week shaped up. He didn’t even blink an eye.

This leads nicely into the next section.

Be Honest

The ASME Unwritten Laws Of Engineering would agree with me. If you don't believe me check for yourself, they wrote them down in this book.
The ASME Unwritten Laws Of Engineering would agree with me. If you don’t believe me check for yourself, they wrote them down in this book.

As a craftsman there is a certain desire to impress. There is a desire to be the best. The worst thing one can do when doing a time estimate is involve any of that in the equation. If you need three more engineers to complete the project and a year’s worth of hours to do it, there is zero benefit in saying you could do it yourself in six months, in a cave, with a box of scraps. If you only have four hours a day of actual working time, well… That’s what you’ve got.

Unless you’re working in a salt mine, you were hired because you are an expert who can give expert advice. The manager wants information and nothing else. Also, and this is a lesson I learned the hard way: If you need time to do the estimate ask for it. I would often blurt out an estimate to look in control. People would write it down, then I would fail to deliver on time.

Be honest about your abilities and what you need.

Get Granular

When I started working professionally I tended to want to estimate my projects as if I were hacking in my lab. “I’ll just read a bit then maybe buy a board. I dunno. I guess there’s some code out there already? If not I guess I can just write it.” The time didn’t really matter in my projects so I’d give estimates on how long I ,”felt,” the project would take.

Getting granular on a sample made-up project.
Getting granular on a sample made-up project.

Your goal is to get a minimum time and maximum time for every task within your project.

If you really want to deliver an accurate estimate the tasks must be broken down. Is there a library already? Okay, there is but it costs $1500 dollars. It will take me ten to twenty hours to write it, so the company comes out ahead if I do it fast and behind if I do it slow. Also, what about support costs down the road. Will I have to spend extra hours debugging because I did it myself? Questions like these should end in a rough list of nearly everything that it will take to do the project.

Also important. If you start to get fuzzy and you get the point where you can’t estimate the time in a granular way, communicate that. Tell them: “Hey, I can give you a real time estimate for this section of the work, but until I do it I can’t possibly give an accurate estimate of the next section of the work”. Most people are willing to work in sections. This is also extremely useful information and typically appreciated by everyone involved. If they insist you’re probably in for a bad time, so you should estimate the absolute worst case time and add some to that. Be honest.

Promise a Range. Give a Deadline.

So, you’ve estimated your project. You know it’s going to take a minimum of 30 hours and a maximum of 80 hours or work to complete. You’re a contractor so you work from home. You know you’ve got about 7 hours a day of work in you when everything is going absolutely great.  That’s actual time spent actually producing something, not the just the time you tell your partner you’re “working”.

The company who’s contracting you would like it in three weeks. Luckily this is your only project. You do the math. Even if it goes horribly you still only need 11 and a half days to complete it. Assuming that a few of your days aren’t as productive as you’d like. you still have an additional 24.5 hours of time you could grab before the deadline. You won’t even have to touch weekends if you stay on top of it. It’s starting to look likely. It’s rare that everything goes wrong.

The best thing to do is to tell the company that you can meet their deadline, mentioning the hours it will take. You have plenty of room to move. They’ll be able to estimate the maximum amount of money you’ll cost them in hours. You can work stress free knowing that it’s unlikely you’ll miss the deadline. If you get sick in the middle of week three and lose four days you can instantly email them and ask for an extra few days or work a weekend if it’s necessary.

Conclusion

There are, of course, many schools of thought on project estimation. There have been volumes written on the subject. There are entire fortunes built on software to take even the smallest bite out of the process. However, being able to give a good estimate of how long something will take is an incredibly useful skill that can pass to all sections of life.

How long will it take to learn the piano? If it’s a minimum of half an hour a day you know you need to find three and a half hours a week. If your partner wants you to rearrange the furniture, mow the lawn, and visit the inlaws next Saturday, an hourly estimate can prepare them for disappointment far in advance.

How do you guys estimate your time? What are your tricks and how do you keep your clients happy. Looking forward to the comments.

51 thoughts on “Life On Contract: Estimating Project Time

  1. What’s the point clients won’t pay a decent rate. Everything is a fixed bid regardless of cost. Clients know the market is flooded with developers. The client can set the terms of delivery and price. Just be happy you have work.

        1. Well yah, figure he could take 25 years, then skip forward and buy a handful of Pi 666 boards based on the Chronon chipset with my $20, then go back to the dotcom bubble and find a paper billionaire to sell the original to, then skip back here, give me mine and get a tidy profit on the other three.

        1. My experience has been that If the client does not understand what you are selling then it is likely you are a poor salesman. I have literally read books and watched videos on the subject to help me once I realized this. I usually spend fifteen to thirty minutes mentally running over my pitch, possible sticking points, and more before a meeting. I have notes prepared. Examples ready. Often the client needs you to brag, to show, to be clear about your difference. I mean, being a technical person is practically like being a wizard, but until you cast an honest to god fireball in front of someone they won’t believe you. If they still won’t pay after that then they are actually not buying what you’re selling.

  2. What time tracker do you use? Looks like a Mac app from the blurred screen shot, would be interested to know — have tried various trackers, including emacs org-mode, and haven’t managed to find any that work well for my workflow. Am now at the point of starting to write an app from scratch, but it’s a really dull use of my time…

    1. Looks like he was using Timely. I used to use RescueTime when I bothered to track my hours. Rescue Time will monitor your computer, and at the end of the week tell you how many hours you spent in which apps and at what websites, you can also add groups… so if you’re playing minecraft and and solitare, you can group them into a category of “Games” and the graph will reflect that. Or if you need stackexchange.com, putty, eclipse and postman, you can group them all into “web programming” and not have to do the math at the end when you get emailed your weekly results and graphs. Best of all the free plan has all of this. I never even considered buying the premium features.

      Also, I find that when I know a program is watching me, I tend to be more productive….I want my end of the week numbers to look good, even if i’m the only one looking at them.

      1. I use a little java app called Rachota (http://rachota.sourceforge.net) that is stand-alone. It’s getting a bit long in the tooth, though, but at least it doesn’t use any cloud ‘make an account’ garbage. There are some features it’s badly lacking though, like sub-tasks, but overall it works well. I’d love to see if someone knew of something similar.

      2. Ya, I really like Timely for hourly tracking. Since I’m religious about stopping it when I stop work it lets me be really honest about the time spent too. Which in turn lets me be honest with my client and makes me better about my time estimates. Some things, like tolerancing, feel like a few hours but actually only took twenty minutes, haha. I use rescue time too, but only because I like statistics.

  3. The best time tracker is one that you can wire up to a big red button on the desk that you will never forget to hit when getting up and sitting down. Maybe even a bank of buttons for billable tasks… Actual Work – Teleconference Waste Of Time – Other Waste Of Time – etc

  4. A previous boss once sent me on a course, called Personal Software Process (look it up on the Internet, it’s by SEI Carnegy Mellon, and pretty well-known). It’s basically a personal version of the CMM process: you get organized, then you organize your organizing, then you improve your organizing your organization, etcetera. Seven layers total, just like CMM.

    During the course, we implemented our own time tracking and management tool, and used the measurements (lines of code, number of functions, categories of functions etc.) as the initial input for the tool. It was absolutely brilliant, and it worked. I could definitely see improvement in how I was able to estimate how long it was going to take to add a new feature for the next week of the course.

    Except if you want to use it in real life, it will probably take you an hour a day to keep track of everything and enter it into your tool, which your boss won’t like. And once you do that for a while and you get actual data out of your tool and tell your boss that a certain job is going to take 4 weeks with a margin of +/- 1 day, she’ll tell you you’re crazy and get it done next Monday anyway.

    I found that it’s easier to give a wide margin on my estimates if it’s something that I know may take a while. When I say it takes between 4 and 6 hours, my boss is usually just as happy as when I say it takes between 1 and 4 weeks. She knows if there is a wild difference between the minimum and maximum estimated effort, it means I’m probably working on code that was written by rabid monkeys on crack with a super tight deadline, and if the difference is small, it means I’m just tweaking something in my own well-architected code.

  5. Ha, wish I read something like this a few years ago. Alas, now I have some experiences to share.

    1. Treat the time estimate as a task in itself. Never answer straight away, instead – tell how much time you need to make that estimate. This actually lets you use your experience and resources rather than rely on your good will and positive thinking – which are deadly. EOD for complex tasks, but usually deliver within an hour.

    2. Spend time making the estimate, and line out possible dangers. Make a conceptual model of the solution, think how much time each part is going to take, make backup plans if stuff goes wrong. If there are problems you may run into that will make you fail your deadline – communicate that. Risk is a factor, if you can outline the risks, the project may be modified to minimize, exclude, or postpone them.

    3. Know the consequences of failure, have a backup plan. This is useful in two ways:
    – some people tend to be more motivated when they know HOW someone else depends on what they do.
    – lets you do damage control. Sometimes your can get the important features in first on time, duct-tape something, or simply not sleep.
    This way, even when you fail a deadline, you can minimize or nullify potential damage that may cause.

    4. Get to know the details. Ask: “When do you need it done”, and “Why?”. This kind of goes in line with the point above, but lets you plan out the task more effectively, especially on short deadlines. You can make suggestions to split the project into smaller tasks, delivering your requirements and making it easier for others (manager, other team) to track your progress and get features they need most first.

    Point 1 and 2 make you give accurate predictions, and make you grow better at is as you progress.
    Point 3 and 4 make you fail gracefully, and plan for it in advance.

    A nice thing I like to throw in is that sometimes you can take the longer route, with benefit to you and the project. Wanted to learn/develop a tool? Wanted an EXCUSE to learn/develop a tool? There you have it, just plan it into the task you were given. To me, this proves to be quite beneficial for performance – it keeps your motivation high, keeps away routine, and lets you grind your skills on a real-case example in a controlled manner.

    I got Spacemacs into my pipeline seamlessly thanks to that.

    1. Yes on the back-up plan. I always try to be clear on the points where I see difficulty. I am also clear on where I am limited and they might need to find someone else. Final production circuit board with fiducial markers and all the design files needed for pick and place? Hire someone who’s done it. I lean too far too the MechE side to ethically guarantee my work in that area. So far I’ve not really lost jobs because of honesty.

  6. This is a very timely article for me as I’m about to do some contract work. Does anyone have a good resource for getting started? I have a ton of questions about the whole process:

    How did you come to your hourly rate, and do you charge a varying rate depending on the task (eg. phone meeting vs actual design work)? Do you provide the contract, or does the customer usually? If your work is for a startup, do you ever work at a lower rate, but include equity, and under what terms is that equity given? How do you invoice for hours, and what exactly goes on an invoice? Any good templates or software out there? If you need any special tools or hardware, do you usually buy it yourself and keep it after the job, or do you charge the client and provide it to them at the end of the contract?

    I probably have way more questions, but I haven’t really found a good place to provide answers, especially a place that isn’t just talking software development or website design.

    1. I don’t know about the start-up situation. I like real money and usually ask for that. I only really want equity if it comes with a title and a salary. However, I also have student loans, so don’t look in my direction for natural financial sense.

      As for buying materials. I usually take a minimum estimate and triple it. It’s a cost, they want to know about costs. Only spend what you need to though. I often include things like my hackerspace membership or fuel costs if there is a long drive in these estimates. They have skype, and on-site meetings are rarely more than posturing, unless the company has it together. As a rule I try to arrive under budget by as large a margin as I can while still delivering on the work. My wallet hates me, but clients tend to like that;)

      I don’t know about keeping equipment. Sometimes I’ll buy something with my own money if I KNOW i’ll need it again. Typically the client owns whatever you buy and build because you did it with their money. I usually just tell them that when the job is over they’ll get a complete listing of what remains. I can mail it to them (at their cost). They can transfer ownership to me (ftw). Or I can try to return it (at my hourly rate, so it better be worth it, haha).

      Oh, and whatever method you use to get to your estimates, reveal it to the client. They want to know what your numbers mean.

    1. It is;) I let one employer know pretty much up front that I spend an hour or so a day reading articles, doing math problems, keeping up with developments, etc. It saved them money too. Got them off their ancient board and onto a dirt cheap STM32 with orders of magnitude more room to breath.

  7. I had to take a course for my Computer Science degree.
    I don’t remember the name of the course, but it was based on the book: The Mythical Man-Month.
    It goes along with Gerrit’s topic.

  8. Here’s my advice…
    Don’t give estimates for unknowns, lie to your boss, over estimate and use buffer time.

    If you’re given a COMPLETE design spec for a known task, great. You should be able to come up with an accurate time estimate and an understandable margin.

    If you’re given a “research” project with obvious unknowns, ABSOLUTELY refuse to give an estimate on the unknown portions. Even if this means you’re fired. Set a president.

    I’m an electronics engineer. Our customer wants us to upgrade their high-tech UV light thingy, but they fired the only technical guy 10 years ago so no one can tell me what the electronics are doing or need to do. My design spec was all of two sentences.

    Lie to your boss:
    Most managers are shit and will push you off to the next project as soon as you have something they can ship. Documentation is neglected and your engineering notes or cleaning up your work area are tasks relegated to unpaid overtime. If this sounds like you’re work environment, simply lie. Don’t tell them the prototypes are complete until EVERYTHING is done. It will also make the next project and followup tasks much quicker.

    Buffer time!
    If a job might take 4 to 6 weeks, I say six weeks. If the job takes 4 weeks, I use the additional two weeks to get a head-start on the next job. If a few projects run late, I add more of a buffer to my quotes. If a few end early, I underestimate times. In this way, I’m always working for the time I’m paid, always done on-time, and from my employer’s perspective, damn good at estimating projects.

        1. Please PKM correct us bad spellers its part of learning. As someone who can’t spell I want you to correct me. Just have some mercy. I often fine people use bad spelling as a condition to demonize the bad speller’s statement in forums. I don’t understand why people would kindly offer an alternative solution to a problem but chastise for bad spelling.

    1. Thank you for the correction.

      I’ve noticed an inverse relationship between the number of errors in a post and how frequently they are corrected.

      Love Dilbert. The more I laugh at Dilbert, the more l feel the need to find a new job.

  9. Oh man this is a topic that can fill volumes of books. But I have a few points that I’d like to share that come from my past experiences.

    1. Always break down larger tasks into smaller ones if they are more than 4 hours long. The human brain is HORRIBLE at estimating time at any scale longer than a few hours.

    2. As stated above, never give an off the cuff estimate. More than likely it will come back to bite you. If someone asks you for a quick estimate just say, sure I’ll email that to you later on today.

    3. Build some risk analysis into your estimates. If everything goes well a task could be done quickly, if not then explain what could go wrong and how much extra time it will take to finish it.

    4. This is probably the most important one, stay in constant communication with your manager and don’t be afraid to revise your estimates when you have new information.

  10. Professional PM here.

    Never give an estimate off the top of your head. Never. If you feel pressured to do this, get an 8, 10 and 12 side die. (You have them from your D&D days) When pressured, get them out and roll them. 8 side is the number of people, 12 is months, 10 is the percent accuracy of the estimate. People either get the absurdity of rolling die or you can pass them over to see if they can roll better. Let me work out an estimate by this date is always a good answer.

    Example of a range of 54-114 hours, you just committed to 54 hours. You must give criteria for the low range with the things that must happen for the low end to occur. Put up front that you are talking about a 4-5-6 hour productive day. When manager say “Hey, you need to come to this meeting” remind them that it will push the delivery back. An unexpected 3 hours, all hands town hall pushes the schedule back a full day. Management goes 40 hours in a week, your PM should understand that 25 hours of real work is average.

    First rule of Project Management is no surprises to the management. If your estimate is a mess, recast it asap and tell the PM. Falling behind? Tell the PM and work out either a recovery plan or recast. Do not do the death by 1000 slips (just one more day, one more day, one more day). Own up, recast the 30 day slip but then make it happen.

    As a PM I’m going to ask “How is it going, how much is done?” When you get to 50% I’m going to ask to see something (anything you got). 70% again with the show me. So plan show and tell in the process. Be proactive “Hey PM can you swing by for a 15 min demo of the basic framework” is better than me asking you over and over for stuff. Once you are a proven delivery person I will stop asking, but am always super pleased to see stuff in progress.”

    When adding buffer to tasks: In your plan, put the buffer with the task, when you produce the plan, put all the buffer at the end. Example. Steve says 24-36 hours. You add 4 hours (10%). Steve hands off to Tom 8-12 hours, add 2 hours. Tom hands to Marcy 6-10 hours, you add 2 hours. Final plan looks like Steve 36 -> Tom 12 -> Marcy 10 -> Project buffer 8 -> Finish. If you put the buffer in at each phase, they will eat the buffer because they can.

  11. I put the project steps in a spreadsheet. Each row is a granular step. For each step I come up with a min and a max # of hours it could take. I average the two and multiply my hourly rate. That is what I quote for firm-fixed-price. Include in your estimate getting the requirements nailed down tight. If the customer changes the requirements it switches to straight hourly.

  12. Estimate the “actual” time you think it will take to do the job and multiply it by 3. Now double it. Now you can add the other stuff that wastes your time like meetings, dealing with customers, vendors, blah blah blah. Double it again.

    Now if you are dealing with multiple vendors it will take waaaaay longer.

    1 vendor example:

    Wife says “you need to replace the bathroom faucet – it’s leaking and I don’t like it anymore because toothpaste has ossified in the cracks”.

    You say yah that’s easy, half an hour and $50. It’s Saturday at 3pm.

    How to estimate what to tell wife: 30min x 3 = 90min x 2 = 180 min x 2 = 360 min = 6 hours. Cost = $50 x 3 x 2 = $300

    Spend 20 minutes driving to The Borg; 20 minutes to find a sales associate that is willing to look you in the eye and get you the faucet you want on the display but isn’t anywhere, then that associate says it’s not their department and they will get someone; after waiting 20 minutes grab “a” faucet that gets you out of The Borg as quick as possible; pay $70 to the cashier who directs you to the self serve checkout because they want their job replaced by a touch terminal; Spend 10 minutes trying to scan the faucet bar code and pay; drive home 20 minutes.

    Remove old faucet, 5 minutes. Add 10 minutes to find right tools in garage. Go to basement and turn off household water because valve doesn’t close properly and you spill water all over bathroom. Go back to bathroom and use wife’s new plush fluffy terry cloth towels to clean up water spills, 10 min. Install new faucet 5 min. Discover your faucet wrench doesn’t fit the new faucet nut and you can’t tighten it.

    Spend 20 minutes driving back to The Borg; 10 minutes to find a plumbing sales associate and ask for the bigger faucet wrench tool; 5 minutes following said associate to the help desk because they don’t understand what a wrench is; 25 minutes later they locate the wrench in the HVAC section under electrical parts; 15 minutes to locate new ball valves; 10 minutes to pay $65 for the wrench and two ball valves; 20 minutes to drive home.

    Tighten faucet nut 5 minutes; go back to garage to find saw and plumbing torch 10 min; cut off old valves and re-solder new ball valves 15 min; use wife new soggy towels to clean up flux drips and solder splatters 5 min; Take tools back to the garage 5 min; turn water back on 5 min; wife finds new towels – get sh*t on.

    Actual Total time spent: 270 minutes or 4.5 hours. Total cost $135 for tools and faucet. Now add $100 for new towels.

    Under time and under budget. You are back in the good books and you have a new tool in the garage.

  13. That is a great XKCD, so much truth to it. Interesting read. I find the hardest tasks to estimate are those where you are going to have to learn as you go. Like, here’s a new CNC – how long to learn to run the machine, learn CAM, learn moldmaking, then make an injection mold? The key is a backup plan, like – hey it’ll probably take me 3 months learning as I go, worst case we’ll have to order some quick turn machined parts that will cost $___

  14. One tip I learned is to remember to make your estimate dependencies clear.

    A two-hour job isn’t “a couple of hours.” It’s “two hours AFTER I RECEIVE THE DESIGN FILES.”

    There are always dependencies and you’ll tend to think of them as a given, but other people often aren’t aware of them and/or aware of their importance/impact/etc.

  15. Last contract (and first) I gave 60 hours as time to complete. I kept track on old fashioned paper! And in the end went over my estimate by 20 hours. Ended up just giving them 25% discount. My original thought was, I can do that in 40 hours…. Then I thought to myself and Wrote everything down and can’t up with the 60. I’ve heard that as engineers we tend to underestimate. Typically by 1/3 the actual amount. There is even a test on estimation that shows these results in estimation. Like estimating how much water in all the great lakes or how much area is the USA.

  16. I’ve seen an online video blog and the guy said that everything he does takes at least 4 hours to get started, and usually takes at least a full day (his speciality is woodworking). He said he NEVER charges by the hour for doing a project. He always charges by the day. He said that if you charge by the hour you always end up paying for the time lost, because a working day also includes breaks, and lost time etc, so you get suckered.

    I suppose there is some truth in there, and I’m interested in hearing some more opinions about this.

  17. To be honest….. It feels like a decade since HAD posted a topic that had this many lengthy comments.
    They are capable of getting hundreds of comments but topics that cause these many individual comments to carry such high word counts on their own is a different matter.

    Simple enough a topic has brought about such a heavy discussion and we all know why. It’s entirely because this is a mine field. Time estimates can truly be tricky but I agree it is best to tell them give u a day or a few hours to come up with a estimated time to finished product. Safest direction.

  18. There are so many various timetrackers on the market its hard to find this one and only. I think I’ve tried about 20 so far, since they all offer a free trial. At the moment i use TimeCamp, a solid one in my opinion, and they keep sending me info about changing into project management software in few weeks so I’m really curious how it will look then.

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