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What is a definitive estimate?

I guess when studying for the PMP one can see terms he hasn't seen before! I just read the term "definitive estimate" and I have no idea what that is. Is it an estimate that is unquestionable (in other words, if it's a time estimate of 3 days, then there is no way that the task will take more than 3 days)?

Thank you to whoever explains the term!
asked 10 years ago by anonymous

2 Answers

There is nothing "definitive" about a definitive estimate, as the answer below states, it's still an estimate, but the accuracy of that estimate is higher.

Typically, the project plan contains definite estimates because it is based on heavy research done by the project manager. On the other hand, estimates in the project charter are not "definitive", they're usually ballpark estimates (see http://www.projectmanagementquestions.com/283/what-are-ballpark-estimates ).
answered 10 years ago by MaplePM (46,940 points)
Obviously there is a bit of contradiction here, which is why this term isn't universal -- if it were "definitive" in the way you describe it, it wouldn't be an estimate.

The PMBOK Guide suggests that there are multiple estimates associated with a project.  The final estimate would be prepared when most of the information about the project is known -- the work breakdown structure has been completed, there is a design or approach for the project, and all planning is complete.

This final estimate might be considered the "definitive" estimate.  A definitive estimate is one which is carefully put together with due diligence in consideration of the project facts.  Like any estimate, it is still only an estimate and may be exceeded or be an over estimate, usually due to project risks becoming issues, whether these risks have been identified or not.
answered 10 years ago by sdcapmp (45,840 points)

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