The secret to providing good level of effort (LOE) is to dive into deep low-level technical things and not get lost. This might mean that you do a brainstorming session and create a checklist of 100+ items. Then you need to eventually dive back to the surface and properly organize your information. The last step is to provide the numbers on each task per category and sum it up.
I like to refer to this approach as the the "rapper's cheatsheet" approach. Putting all the information on a single cheatsheet is crucial and then the organization (i.e. freestyle rapping) starts after that.
After you have done all of the above, then you can easily create a Gantt chart understanding all the task dependencies and resources available. The main thing is to keep the dependencies at the task level with right resources as opposed to keeping dependencies at the resource level.
Then if you wish to track this to the detail, you can plug it into project schedule using your choice of tool and one of them could be MS Project Office.
In the technical lead/management role, I prefer exposing the Gantt chart and big picture to all my engineering teammates as I don't want anybody developing in the vacuum. It pays off in the project in getting better results in the integration testing.
At the end of this exercise, I get all the information I need to lead the project and most importantly I get to focus on the technical things with the engineering teammates.
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