Video link: "Why Everything Takes Longer Than You Expect" by BrainCraft on YouTube

I figured I’d post this video here since we are all in the middle of a “this thing is taking longer than expected” predicament. The video talks about our apparent inability of estimating how much time various tasks will take. It mentions several major projects that went way over-time (and way over-budget) and offers some possible explanations of why it happens.


I love this! I may refer to this in a talk I’m giving next week on this same subject.
thanks for sharing!


I used to work for someone who would decide when a project should be done and then work backwards to assign due dates to each of the project tasks and sub-tasks. I would to get in heated discussions with him and argue for due dates that actually took into account the work to be done and the available resources but always lost out. Eventually I figured out that those discussions only took away from time that was available to actually do the work and decided to just agree with him. It also saved a lot of mental wear and tear.




Task duration was always easier to estimate when I had a history with members of the team. As a project lead I would have to get estimates for H/W, S/W, Testing, procurement, contracts… (you get the idea). Might be a dozen different disciplines and sub-leads. If I had experience with the responsible lead I could use a little understanding of each task, and a lot of reliance on my trust in that person. The estimate from Mike would be doubled, Jon’s would be tripled, Donna needed a 20% buffer, Ken was always spot on, etc. It was amazing how consistent everyone was.


Did our career paths cross some time in the past? That’s pretty much spot on.


All characters and events, even those based on real people, are entirely fictional. All dialog and material have at least some original content.


At school, I had a studio professor who gathered us all up one day and gave a walkthrough of his making process. At the end he told us that anytime we had a task, we needed to guess the absolute longest we thought it would take, then multiply that by three for the actual timeframe. To this day his method has almost never been wrong when I use it :laughing:


I love this and plan on ‘stealing’ the idea for myself. There used to be a sitcom on TV, of which I can’t remember the name, but the main character used to say that ‘everything takes 4 hours’. Though not necessarily accurate, it’s that thought process that made sense.


It’s so true! Even after knowing things will take longer I’ve still never been able to accurately predict timeframes. Just this weekend I wanted to try something out on my 3D printer and thought to myself, ‘I can totally make this in like, an hour’. Sure enough, three hours later it was finished :joy:


Three days later and I am still working on my reply to this…


Thank you _ I like that as a rule of thumb.