SOLIDWORKS Completion Date Estimates

So now you have planned your assembly structure with Treehouse, how do you estimate how long it will take to complete?

I like to use project management software to create my estimates.

Most people think project management software is only used to manage large civil or architectural projects with hundreds or even thousands of resources and tasks. In the early years of project management software this was the case, because the software was expensive and hard to use. Today many project management programs are Windows based and quite economical.

Think of your main assembly as a task. Each sub-assembly is a sub-task, each sub-sub-assembly is a sub-sub-task and so on. As you estimate how long it will take you to design each sub assembly the overall completion date is automatically summed up. Weekends, holidays and vacations can automatically be taken into account.

It is quick, and should be more accurate than trying to estimate the entire top level assembly.

Certainly Excel could be used if you kept it simple; but if you are going to do any concurrent engineering, project management software can also help you with your resource management -and help you find your critical paths to getting your assembly out to the shop floor [or beyond]….but that is another blog for another day.

Project Planning (Click on the thumbnail to see an example of a Gantt chart estimating time to complete a simple assembly. The critical path is shown with the red bars.)

Microsoft Project is a common example of Windows project management software; but the above example was created with OpenProj, an open source [free] project management program for Windows, Linux, Unix and Mac.

Would you use a spreadsheet as your word processor? Use the right tool for the job. There are many tools you can use to estimate your completion date but project management software was designed to for this exact purpose. The learning curve is small, and so can be the price.

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