There are four ways to run projects.
One – 80% Right, 100% Done, 100% On Time, 100% On Budget
Set a tight timeline and use the people and budget you have. You’ll be done on time, but you must accept a reduced scope (fewer bells and whistles) and less certainty of how the product/service will perform and how well it will be received by customers. This is a good way to go when you’re starting a new adventure or investigating new space.
Two – 100% Right, 100% Done, 0% On Time, 0% On Budget
Use the team and budget you have and tightly define the scope (features) and define the level of certainty required by your customers. Because you can’t predict when the project will be done, you’ll be late and over budget, but your offering will be right and customers will like it. Use this method when your brand is known for predictability and stability. But, be weary of business implications of being late to market.
Three – 100% Right, 100% Done, 100% On Time, 0% On Budget
Tightly define the scope and level of certainty. Your customers will get what they expect and they’ll get it on time. However, this method will be costly. If you hire contract resources, they will be expensive. And if you use internal resources, you’ll have to stop one project to start this one. The benefits from the stopped project won’t be realized and will increase the effective cost to the company. And even though time is fixed, this approach will likely be late. It will take longer than planned to move resources from one project to another and will take longer than planned to hire contract resources and get them up and running. Use this method if you’ve already established good working relationships with contract resources. Avoid this method if you have difficulty stopping existing projects to start new ones.
Four – Not Right, Not Done, Not On Time, Not On Budget
Though almost every project plan is based on this approach, it never works. Sure, it would be great if it worked, but it doesn’t, it hasn’t and it won’t. There’s not enough time to do the right work, not enough money to get the work done on time and no one is willing to flex on scope and certainty. Everyone knows it won’t work and we do it anyway. The result – a stressful project that doesn’t deliver and no one feels good about.
Image credit – Cees Schipper
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