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Estimating timelines for a training project — free template

If you're working on a new project or with a new team, it can be tricky to estimate how long it will take to create a training project. Due to a cognitive bias called the planning fallacy even experts tend to underestimate how long a project will take and overestimate how quickly they can do things.

To estimate timelines for a new project, I recommend the following steps :

Step 1. Check out industry bench marks

Also, check out my time estimates for creating ILT, VILT, articles, and videos. You can save a copy of the template for yourself or download for Excel.

Step 2. Break the project down into milestones

You can view my post to see how I break up big projects into small tasks.

Once I got asked to estimate how long it would take to complete a project I've never done. I made a list and then talked to several colleagues about their process to make sure I didn't miss any steps.

Step 3. Talk to colleagues to make sure your time estimates make sense

Industry benchmarks are great, but you need to align them with your project and your team's size, workflow, quality standards, and experience level.

Asking your colleagues whether your time estimates make sense can also help you overcome the planning fallacy. Nobel prize winning researcher Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky did a number study on cognitive biases, and they found that people tend to be overly optimistic when making predictions about how much time it will take them to complete their own task and overly pessimistic when estimating how long it will take someone else.

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