The scheduling component of the time management process was used as a ‘paradigm’ to investigate the estimation of duration of future tasks. Two experiments looked at the effect that the tendency to provide estimates in the form of rounded close approximations had on estimation accuracy. Additionally, the two experiments investigated whether grouping tasks together prior to scheduling would decrease duration estimation error. The majority of estimates provided in both experiments were categorised as rounded close approximations, and were overestimates of the actual time required to complete the experimental tasks. The grouping together of the relatively short tasks used in Experiment 1 resulted in a significant increase in estimation accuracy. A similar result was found in Experiment 2 for relatively long tasks. The results are discussed in relation to the basic processes used to estimate the duration of future tasks, and means by which these scheduling activities can be improved.
Forsyth, D.; Burt, C. (2006). The effect that rounding to prototypical values has on expected duration estimation accuracy. (Department of Management and International Business Research Working Paper Series 2006, no. 5). Auckland, NZ: Massey University. Department of Management and International Business.