estimate / confirm

Soon after arriving to work today, my boss talked me through what could have been a stressful client situation he dealt with while traveling the day before.  He was on the road prepping for Client 1 meeting when Client2 called requesting him to run a few new scenarios in our excel model and revert with results in the next 20 min.

While he trusted his team to accurately run the requested analysis, he still had to understand the key drivers that impact the outcome of each scenario and then be able to discuss results with Client2.  So while the team ran the scenario in excel, my boss, as he’s done for years, ran the calcs by hand so that he could estimate the results, and then confirm / ask questions after reviewing the excel output.

The situation described above would normally be stressful for many of my colleagues.  But it wasn’t for my boss because he’s been approaching every analysis with this process for the past 8 years.

I think the estimate / confirm process has wide spread applications as it’s an excellent way to continue to learn and hone a skillset.

Estimate / confirm process / steps:

  1. Summarize the facts:  Prior to reviewing a report / analysis / argument, assemble facts available and quickly read them.  Be sure to write down (not type) the most important assumptions / drivers / facts
  2. Estimate outcome: Based on assumptions / drivers / facts that your wrote down, write down an estimate of what you think the analysis should look like and why (play with up and downside scenarios to ensure you’re conducting sufficient diligence)
  3. Confirm estimates:  Then review output to either confirm your estimate (or determine why you’re estimated results are different)
  4. Critique performance, write down lessons learned:  Based on outcome, write down ways you can improve your estimates going forward
  5. Repeat:  Get your reps in regularly

If steps above are put into regular practice, an improved understanding and confidence relating to area of focus is assured.