QUESTION (from LinkedIn): Forecasting the same as prediction? Which one is more realistic and easier to do?
ANSWER: Forecasting is different from predicting. Predicting is much easier but far less accurate.
Predicting is when you start making guesses about things. For example, you predict that laying sheet-rock will take 45 hours to do and you guess that it will be done in 2 weeks.
Forecasting, on the other hand, is when you take information from past jobs and apply it to a new job. For example, if you have seen that laying the sheet-rock for a 3,000 sq ft space takes 65 hours and it usually done in 4 weeks then the next time you have to quote out the same job you’ll be able to forecast how much its going to cost and how long it will really take i.e. when it will really be done after work starts on it.
The big difference is predicting is based on your best guess from experience. Forecasting is based on data you’ve actually recorded and tracked from previous jobs.