Delays that are expressed in terms of time can be equally well expressed in terms of money, which is why every member of your team needs to keep a beady eye on the way the golden hourglass drips. The accounts people measure each item of expenditure. The managing director is concerned with the bottom and finishing lines. The project manager is concerned that he doesn't go over his ceiling in time or money. The staff are concerned that their expenses don't exceed their allowance and that they deliver on schedule. On a software project everyone has to pace their resources.
The five most common reasons why projects go over budget follow:
♦ The specification changes.
♦ There is a delayed realization of what the project really entails.
♦ People leave and have to be replaced.
♦ Additional software technologies are required.
♦ The estimates were inept.
The ramifications of going over budget can be scary: Marketing windows are missed, key functions have to be dropped, or the project has to be scrapped. And in the worse scenario, it takes the firm down with it. Everyone on the team, from the most senior to the most junior, has to understand the importance of money, the seriousness of overspending, and that ultimately no firm, not even a rich one, has unlimited coffers.
Senior managers are usually wary of disclosing contingency budgets as they presume that project and team managers will factor it into their thinking. Nevertheless, managers should be equally wary of starting any project where the budget is absolutely rigid. Barely one in six projects comes in on time and on budget. It is statistical suicide to start a project without some leeway.
Whether your main strength is on the business side or the programming side, you still have to manage your time. Sometimes this is harder than managing others. The trick is to make a short list of all you intend to accomplish today before you check your e-mail. Clear the decks so you can devote as much time during the day as possible to productive work.
Make yourself a short list such as the following:
♦ Meetings today—is anything outstanding?
♦ What do you need to achieve today and are there issues to resolve from yesterday?
♦ Do you need a formal discussion with anyone? If so, arrange it.
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What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.