1. If I were in Lauren’s shoes, I would make sure it’s clear to the strategic management group that my estimate – a more detail/micro estimate – came in well over their initial macro estimate. That being said, I would also provide upper management with the ideas (outsourcing, change scope, cancel project..) developed with stakeholders in the brainstorming meeting. Simply moving forward with the project after finding such a large gap in estimates would be a terrible idea that would most likely to back fire. It’s important that the executives understand major differences or flaws in the project plan. 2. I would say that top management was acting correctly in developing an estimate. When evaluating different projects, you need a general ballpark (macro) estimate in order to decide which projects will be worthwhile. However, top management probably should have gotten a more detail, micro estimate before deciding to fully move forward with the project. The macro estimates are good for comparing projects to one another, but when it comes time to accept a project or not, a more detail estimate is needed. 3. A mix of estimating techniques should be used in evaluating this project. As I stated in the previous answer – it’s important to have macro estimates in order to compare projects to one another. This allows management to weed out poor project choices without exhausting too much time or resources on gathering an estimate. On the other hand, after a project is selected for further development, a micro estimation needs to be done from the bottom up in order to fully understand all potential costs associated with the project. Proceeding with a project when all you have is a macro estimate is a risky move. That is why it is important to use both estimation techniques in the project selection process.
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