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My workflow process looks like this:

  1. I get some info about the number and complexity of project tasks.
  2. I have time-data about past tasks of the same complexity.
  3. I have prices for current tasks.
  4. I associate them. (This is a lot of repetitive work.)
  5. I apply some a coefficient. (This is a lot of repetitive work.)
  6. I perform the calculations.
  7. Hooray, I have an evaluation!

How can I reduce the repetitive work and human computation in this workflow?

  • Your question has been edited for grammar, and to avoid closure as a tool-recommendation question. – Todd A. Jacobs Aug 2 '14 at 16:43
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Even after editing your question does appears a lot like a request for a tool recommendation. I'll take the approach of recommending a tool type, and leave it to you to decide on your selection criteria.

Estimating costs is done for all sorts of projects, and I have seen estimation tools used for other services. I would be looking for an estimation/price quotation tool. However, it can be done with a spreadsheet (explore the lookup functionality).

I get some info about the number and complexity of project tasks.

This is basically a bill of materials for the project. Ideally your tool will allow to to add notes to each line item and add/change the product later.

I have time-data about past tasks of the same complexity.

This is your product list (tasks that your can estimate somewhat accurately).

I have prices for current tasks.

This is your pricing structure. Depending on the tools, you may have to calculate the costs. If the tool supports assemblies then, your product lists would be assemblies of tasks (hours * rate).

I associate them. (This is a lot of repetitive work.)

This is done once you have done the above.

I apply some a coefficient. (This is a lot of repetitive work.)

Is this your estimation error? I would build this into the product list. If the tool allows for uncertainty about quantity, all the better. If it is a markup/markdown for overhead, than apply the appropriate discount or overhead.

I perform the calculations.

The tools would do this for you.

Hooray, I have an evaluation!
  • Thanks for that. Looks like I was wrong. Terms talked tools allowed to give advice. That's my question. I use a spreadsheet, but it's not cool. I wonder what are the other tools. – pashaigood Aug 3 '14 at 7:50
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I have used liquidplanner for similar tasks in the past. Enter project, tasks, and resources. Then enter low/high estimates for each task. LP will then use its algorithm to give you the best guess as to total effort. If you have cost ranges, then instead of hours, you can put in $/EU.. and it will give you the best complete estimate. If you have resources, and a cost per resource you would put in hours est effort. Not sure if LP will give you a time estimate, and a cost estimate, or if you will have to calc the cost estimate yourself. More complex estimating/scheduling tools generally require significant investment.

  • Thanks for the answer on the merits, now try your advice. – pashaigood Aug 5 '14 at 20:25
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I have been using enbraun's eresource scheduler for the same. It allows me to perform every single thing you have mentioned. Enter resources, projects, tasks, locations, teams, offices etc. and easily allocate resources on projects and tasks. Its graphical reports allows you to make necessary decisions.

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I would use Microsoft Project or Oracle Primavera. I think if you build some of your projects using these programs the management of future ones will be a lot easier.

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