Contingency Approach with regard to time can be a tricky thing to achieve. It is after all it is a rare project where once you
create the plan, you don't discover that you won't have a chance of delivering it unless everything goes exactly according to
Basically in the project management industry this translates as "This project has absolutely no contingency
whatsoever" and is a phrase you will find yourself repeating like a mantra a great deal especially in these Credit Crunch times where
Organisations expect much more delivered in a shorter period of time. Please note, the word Absolutely has to be used to
give the phrase the emphasis required!
However when you find yourself in this position don't worry. In project management, if you are creative and think laterally
there is always a way.
In my experience, I have learned that this particular problem is resolved by either:
Now neither is ideal but both are achievable.
Finding the Time by De-scoping Functionality
In order to do this you need to look at the existing scope of the project objectively and detemine what is a
"nice to have". You can then look at this list, estimate which will be the most difficult and time consuming to deliver and then start trying to have
Now the chances of project sponsors agreeing to de-scope functionality before the project has really got underway is
remote. However the key here is to put the idea into their heads that this functionality could be de-scoped. Then when the
project is further into the project lifecycle and runs into difficulties, it should be a much easier task to persuade the
project sponsors to follow the course of action you want.
Of course sometimes you can get functionality de-scoped more easily but this is usually because of commercial rather than
technology considerations. So for example I once managed a project where a product was sold through a number of channels ie
Shops, internet, mobile etc. One of the more esoteric channels only sold 10,000 units a week which was a fraction of the
others, and yet cost as much to develop for. By going to the Project Sponsor and explaining this simple fact, I was able to
ensure my project did not have to develop for this channel, which saved not just development but Business Analyst and Testing
time as well which amounted to a substantial amount of time.
Contingency Approach 3/6 - Tip
It is always a good idea to keep a personal note of what functionality can be de-coped at which part of the project
lifecycle just in case This means that should the worst happen, you will be available to immediately recommend a course of
action regarding what can be de-scoped.
This makes a big impression with Project Sponsors who will then be more likely to
agree with you because of the perception you have created that you are totally in control of the project.
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