Define Project Estimates (ETC)

The Estimate-to-Complete (ETC) is the estimated time for a resource to complete an assignment. The value is important for both project planning and revenue recognition. In the short run, estimates help project managers more effectively allocate work hours. In the end, project managers can compare estimates to actuals, which can help produce more accurate forecasting and planning. The estimating properties display the current and new ETC values.
You can assign ETC for both labor and non-labor resources. Labor resources always have a defined availability value as it is required information. An availability value is not required for non-labor resources for you to assign ETC.
Define Project Estimates (ETC)
Follow these steps:
  1. Open a project.
  2. Assign resources to the tasks.
  3. Generate the estimates.
  4. Define estimates:
  5. Define allocations by individual resource.
ETC Calculation
The ETC value for a task is obtained through conversations with the resources that are involved. Based on their understanding of the effort that is involved, resources can provide estimates for completing their tasks. To help with the entry of ETC values, when you initially assign a resource to a task, the application makes the following assumptions about the assignee:
  • They spend their entire allocation to the project on that particular task.
  • They spend their entire allocation to the project for the task duration (they work on only one task at a time).
To calculate the default ETC, the application considers the following resource factors:
  • Calendar
  • Daily availability
  • Project allocation
The application then automatically populates the ETC field for the task by default using the following calculation:
ETC = Assigned Work Days × Allocation (Daily Availability in Hours)
  • Assigned Work Days
    : The number of working days that the resource is assigned to work on the task.
  • Allocation
    : The number of hours each day that the resource is available for work on that project.
Unless you specify a different number in the resource profile, the application assumes that eight hours of work time are available daily. The application adjusts this availability by the project allocation to determine the number of hours that are used for the default calculation.
The default calculation is intended merely as a shortcut method for entering estimates, not as a substitute for obtaining valid estimates through conversation with the assigned resources. We recommend that you start with the default ETC and then adjust it to match the valid ETCs obtained through conversation, as necessary. You can edit either the whole ETC or the time-phased ETC.
Clipping of Task Time
The start and finish time for all new tasks is fixed from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. However, standard calendar work shifts can cause a task start and finish time to be clipped inward once it is assigned, but never outward. For example, say that you have shifts that last from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm. When you first create a task, it is set to 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. If you then assign the task, the task finish time is clipped to 4:00 pm (inward clip). The task start time is not reset to 7:00 am (outward clip). The inward clipping of a task time can result in the ETC being different from what you expected.
Default ETC Examples
  • Aaron Connors and Patty Chen each have eight hours daily availability. You allocate Aaron 100 percent to a project and assign him to a task for five days. You allocate Patty 50 percent to the same project. You also assign her to the same task for five days. The application calculates the default ETC for Aaron for this task as 40 hours (8 hours daily * 5 days * 100 percent allocation). The application calculates the default ETC for Patty as 20 hours (8 hours daily * 5 days * 50 percent allocation).
  • You schedule a task between 6/30/14 and 7/30/14. The task contains 22 working days and has one resource with 100 percent project allocation. The resource is assigned to the task for eight hours a day for all 22 days. The application calculates the default ETC for the task as 176 hours (22 days * 8 hours each day * 100 percent allocation). You assign two extra resources to the task, each with a total daily availability of eight hours. One resource for 50 percent of the available time and the other resource for 100 percent. The combined ETC for the task calculates to 440 hours (the original 176 + the new resource for 176 + the second new resource at 50 percent for 88).
Modify ETC (Investments)
You can change the project-level ETC in the following ways:
  • Apply new estimates across project tasks.
  • Apply the ETC.
  • Apply the estimating rules.
Assign staff to tasks before you can view and edit ETC.
Apply New ETC Across Tasks
You can apply estimates (ETC) across all tasks by editing and applying the ETC at the project level. Applying ETC at the project level distributes the ETC value across all the project tasks according to task duration, resource availability, and resource allocation. The current ETC assumes the new value.
Follow these steps:
  1. Open the project.
  2. Open the Properties menu and click Estimating.
    The estimating properties page appears.
  3. Complete the following field:
    • New ETC
      Defines the new estimate to apply across all the tasks in the project.
  4. Click Apply.
    The new ETC is applied.
Apply Top-Down Estimating
Use this procedure to view and edit the combined ETC of all the tasks in the project and to apply ETC. The estimating page displays a breakdown of project ETC by phase or task grouping. You can expand the list to view the ETC for each task in the phase or group. Once a project or task is underway, ETC reflects the number of remaining hours that are estimated to complete the project. To apply top-down estimating, enter the percentage share of the top-down estimate that is distributed for each task.
Follow these steps:
  1. Open the project.
  2. Open the Properties menu and click Estimating.
    The estimating properties page appears.
  3. Complete the following fields:
    • Mode
      Specifies the mode for estimating.
      • Top-Down Estimating. Use this mode to specify a percentage of the estimates for tasks.
      • Estimating Rules. Use this mode to estimate rules for applying estimates to tasks.
      Top-Down Estimating
    • Current ETC
      Displays the current estimate to complete (ETC) for the project. The value for this field is derived from the Current ETC on the estimating properties page.
    • New ETC
      Defines the new estimate to apply across all the tasks in the project.
  4. Click Preview.
    The list of tasks display.
  5. View the following fields:
    • Task
      Defines the name of the task. Clicking the plus sign or summary task name displays subtasks below the summary task.
    • ID
      Displays the unique identifier for the task.
    • Current ETC
      Displays the total Estimate To Complete (ETC) for the task. The value for this field is derived from the ETC field on the task estimating properties page.
    • Top-down %
      Displays the percentage of the top-down estimate from the project that is distributed to the task.
    • New ETC
      Displays the new estimate to apply to the task.
  6. Click Apply.
    The ETC is distributed to the tasks set up to receive the top-down distribution.