We’ve touched upon this in an earlier post on Project Lifecycles and Engagement. As we’ve all experienced, but organisations seldom learn from projects. Spending ramps up towards the end of a project as delays and quality issues are absorbed and timelines and costs are squeezed at the back end – often in testing.
In our experience is that pressure to cut costs is always in the forefront of a Programme or Projects’ mind toward the end of a project. Attempts are frequently made to concertina a timeline in an attempt to hit a target date set at the beginning that can be either hard and fast (You can’t move the date of Wimbledon) or arbitrary (that was the date that popped out of MS Project at the beginning). These are usually the same changes that are asked for – do more with the same resources and achieve the same outcome. Which is peculiar, as all project and programme manager are aware of the triumvirate of Time/Cost/Quality – the shifting of one requires movement in the others. To paraphrase a well known bike industry insider, you can have strong, cheap and light. Pick two.
Preparation and realistic estimates are key. Projects can afford for their teams to deliver correctly once and don’t want to deliver multiple times. As we referred to in The Rubber Hammer these situations can be planned for in the beginning.