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SensiblePM101 – 001 | Work vs. Duration

SensiblePM101 – 001 | Work vs. Duration

In this episode the Sensible Project Manager introduces the SensiblePM 101 Podcast and describes the difference between work and duration.

Listen to the Podcast:

SensiblePM Tip:

Work vs. Duration

  • What is Work?
  • What is Duration?
  • Applying Work & Duration.

Read the Transcript

Hello welcome to SensiblePM 101. This is Mark Phillipy and I am the Sensible Project Manager. Before we begin with the tip of the day, I wanted to let you know what this podcast is about. I am looking forward to being able to help new project managers and those that are studying to become project managers or maybe even those who are on a project and want to understand a little more about project management and the lingo what projects are all about. And so, I decided to create this podcast in which I will provide to you tips and hints about project management, just basic concepts. Today we will talk a little about duration and work. That’s one example of how I want to be able to provide that kind of guidance. So you can return often to this podcast, I intent to produce this at least once a week. And you will be able to find these tips, these practical tips about project management. Alright with that introduction, let’s talk about work and duration.

OK, I wanted to take a few minutes to talk a little about work and duration and how that is applied when you are identifying what the effort is for a task. First of all work is the amount of time that it takes for a task to get completed. Meaning if I were to start at the beginning of the task and I had no interrupted time, what would be the effort to complete that task? The duration is how long it will take to complete that task, not making the assumption that I will not be interrupted during the time. For instance, if I have a task that I was to work from the start to the end that would require eight hours of effort, that is the work that is required to complete the task, however, I might only be able to only work two hours a day on that task. If that’s the case, those eight hours is now going to take four days to complete. That is the duration. Now when I am working with an engineer to identify what the effort is, I put it exactly in those terms so that they can understand what I am looking for. And what I am always driving for in understanding the effort is the work that is required for the task. I then allow a tool like Microsoft Project to calculate the duration for me. Alright, I hope that little discussion helps you as you understand work, duration, and how you apply that for driving out what the estimate is for a task.

Thank you for listening to the SensiblePM 101 podcast. I hope that helps you. Please return often, or subscribe to this podcast to hear these practical weekly tips. If want to hear a little bit more from The Sensible Project Manager, come listen to The Sensible Project Manager Podcast to hear more advanced topics. That podcast is about twenty to thirty minutes long. You can find that on iTunes as well as on I would love to have you email me as well at When you email me, send me some information about what kind of topics you might want to hear, here on SensiblePM 101, and I will address those. You can also follow me on Twitter @SensiblePM. You can also find me on LinkedIn. My name is Mark Phillipy. Now remember the Sensible Project Manager always looks for the practical way to lead a project to success.

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