Lisa Sieverts

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When will this be done?

Are you terrified when someone asks “When will this be done?”

Whether you’re being asked about a project or a task, it’s often hard to answer this question.

Here’s what I know.

🏁 The best way to figure out how long a task will take is to do the work

It’s often better not to estimate. It’s time that would be better spent working. Do the work, show your results, get feedback, and keep going.

👀 Consider why people are asking for the estimate: what information are they really looking for?

When you understand their needs, you may be able to answer their question without having to give them a date.

💯 A range is better than a single number.

The likelihood that your task or project will be completed at a specific, predicted moment is near zero. When you and your team can provide a range that feels accurate, you’re sharing useful and actionable information.

It’s FAR better to be roughly right than precisely wrong.