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what is parametric estimating

Parametric Estimating: A Comprehensive Guide for Project Managers

In project management, accurate cost estimation is crucial for the success of any project. Parametric estimating is a widely used technique to estimate the cost and duration of projects based on certain variables or parameters. This method can be used in various industries such as construction, software development, manufacturing, etc.

This article will explore parametric estimating in detail, including its definition, advantages, disadvantages, and how to use it in project management.

What is Parametric Estimating?

Parametric estimating is a method of cost estimation that uses statistical data to calculate the cost and duration of a project based on various variables. This method assumes that there is a relationship between the variables and the project’s cost. This relationship is determined by historical data, expert judgment, and mathematical formulas.

Parametric estimating is often used in projects with a repetitive nature and similar scope and size. For example, parametric estimating can be used in construction projects to estimate the cost of building a house based on the number of rooms, square footage, and location.



  1. Accuracy: Parametric estimating is more accurate than other estimation techniques because it is based on historical data and statistical analysis.
  2. Time-saving: Parametric estimating is a quick cost estimation method requiring minimal data input and mathematical calculation.
  3. Consistency: Parametric estimating ensures cost and duration estimation consistency, using the same formula for similar projects.
  4. Transparency: Parametric estimating provides a transparent cost estimation method, as the data used to calculate the cost is easily accessible and verifiable.


  1. Limited scope: Parametric estimating is limited to similar content and size projects. It must be used for something other than unique projects or projects with significant uncertainty.
  2. Inaccuracy: Parametric estimating may only be accurate if the historical data used to calculate the cost is relevant to the current project.
  3. Expertise: Parametric estimating requires expertise in statistical analysis and data interpretation. With proper expertise, the estimates may be accurate.

How to use Parametric Estimating in Project Management

  1. Identify the variables: The first step in using parametric estimating is to identify the variables that will be used to estimate the cost and duration of the project. These variables should be measurable and have a significant impact on the cost and time of the project.
  2. Collect historical data: The next step is to collect historical data relevant to the project. This data should be collected from similar projects completed in the past.
  3. Analyze the data: Once the data has been collected, it should be analyzed to determine the relationship between the variables and the cost and duration of the project.
  4. Develop a formula: Based on the analysis, a procedure should be developed to estimate the cost and duration of the project. The formula should be tested and validated using additional historical data.
  5. Apply the formula: The formula should be applied to the current project to estimate the cost and duration. The results should be compared to other estimation techniques to ensure accuracy.


Parametric estimating is a valuable technique for estimating the cost and duration of projects. It is more accurate, time-saving, consistent, and transparent than other estimation techniques. However, it has limitations, and the accuracy of the estimates depends on the quality of historical data and expertise in statistical analysis. Therefore, it should be used with caution and in conjunction with other estimation techniques to ensure the accuracy of the estimates.

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