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Do You Want To Know Now Or One Day Before Going Live?

Posted on | April 1, 2008 | Comments Off on Do You Want To Know Now Or One Day Before Going Live?

How many times have we, PMs, experienced being in front of our boss telling it how it is only to hear that it is unacceptable? Well, too many for the majority of us. The point of the matter is that bosses only want to hear the good news: “yes, we can do it all by the deadline and for that amount of money and resources”.

If we say otherwise, we may be called incompetent. And, if by any reason, the bad news we are delivering becomes reality then we didn’t do enough and may face the ultimate punishment: get fired.

So, how do we tell our boss what we need to say at the right time? First off, let me just remind you that the most common points of contention are scope, time and cost. Precisely, they are three of the pillars of the “six” triple constraint. And, let me also remind you that in the real world we, as PMs, are given the scope of the project (and I don’t have a problem with this), the finish date and budget of the project (and this is what I have a problem with) before we even have a chance to plan for it.

Project managers have to be able to do their job and part of it is looking at the scope of the project and determining how long it is going to take and how much it is going to cost. You will not know how long it is going to take and how much it is going to cost until you have a plan. This plan must have a schedule with tasks and resources assigned as well as any other expenses that must be incurred in. Make sure you calculate the critical path so that you are ready to explain the tasks in it. You cannot wait until the day before going live to tell your boss “I told you so”.

Only after the PM has done his/her job can s/he provide supporting documentation in the event that the finish date and cost are higher than what the boss said.

You may say that even with a plan in hand the boss will “insist” there is something wrong and that the project must be done according to the “original expectations”. In this case, you must feel confident you have done your job and can tell your boss “I showed you so”. Don’t you think so…? Well, I do.

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