How to use three Point Estimating Technique in Project Management

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What is three point estimating technique ?




Three Point Estimating technique is a method of activity duration estimate in which three types of estimates are incorporated into a single duration estimate. These are Optimistic, most likely and Pessimistic estimates.



Optimistic estimate as part of three point estimating technique

When we are talking about Optimistic estimate in Three Points estimating, it is the best case estimate of the time it will take to complete a particular task. Let’s say for example, it will take five days to clear a plot of land. We can say it will take twelve days to clear two plot of land, all things being equal. That is an optimistic estimate.

Pessimistic estimate as part of three point estimating technique

When talking about Pessimistic Estimate under Three Point Estimating technique. Pessimistic Estimate is the worst case estimate for a particular project. This is the time that it will take to complete a task even if an unplanned event occurs while trying to execute a particular task. Two week of completion can later become three weeks or four weeks if we are unable to raise fund to pay the labourers for the project.

three point estimating technique
most likely estimate as part of three point estimating technique

The most likely time is the time it will require to complete a particular task under normal condition. The Most likely time shows the time that we are sure that the work will be completed without any delay to the project schedule.

The formula for three point estimating technique

[Optimistic time + 4{most likely time} + Pessimistic time/ 6


Optimistic time-5 days

Most likely time-7 days
Pessimistic time-10 days



=7 days (Approximately).

Answer this:

Optimistic time- 8 Days

Most likely- 10 days
Pessimistic– 14 days


Leave your answer in the comment box.

You should note that we have other estimating techniques that can be used to calculate time in project management. The one that you are going to adopt is dependent on what you are doing at any given time. Never insist on this estimating technique just because others are using it. Be Guided. 

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