My Project Management Expert

Project Time and cost

You may think that the relationship between project time and cost is one which would be easily understood. And yet to my surprise, numerous Team Leads and resources have demonstrated their complete ignorance of the concept.

Just last week I was getting an update from one of my Test Team Leads. His words were, "Our test scripting effort has slipped 4 days but it's not a problem because we'll still be finished well before test execution is scheduled to complete".

Can you see the problem with this statement, because he certainly couldnt. As I pointed out to him, whilst time wise that wasn't a problem, cost wise it most certainly was especially as in this case 5 test resources were involved. After all 5 x 4 = 20 additional man days of effort. Worse still all the resources involved were expensive contractors.

I could see his eyes glazing over as I explained the concept of project time and cost As a Team Lead he thought his only objective was to meet the end date. If this mean't an overspend in the budget, well that wasn't really his problem but mine. Unsurprisingly it didn't take me long to put him right on that one, and as a result he found a way to reduce the slippage to just a day.

So what is the big deal with project time and cost? Well think of it this way,

"TIME IS MONEY".

The longer time something takes, the more money it is usually going to cost unless of course you slash your resources accordingly. Even then this doesn't work because of the additional fixed overhead costs involved.

For example say you have10 developers, 1 Architect and 1 Team Lead working for you full-time over 8 weeks. Would this be the same as 5 Developers full-time and 50% of 1 Architect and 1 Team Lead working 16 weeks? The answer would be no because firstly when you have 5 developers you really need a full-time Team Lead and further you still need the peripheral things in support such as Environments, BA Support, Configuration Management etc etc.

And what about your services? Will you be able to project manage all of this part-time when you will still need to complete the same amount of project management documents including the project management report each week? It is for this reason that you should not be railroaded into agreeing to lengthen the duration of your project if at all possible. Increased project time often leads to increased project budget, lack of resources and potential scope creep. So stick to a timeframe you think is right and ensure your project delivers to it.

Budget for a Project - Tip

The duration your project takes will be determined by both the deadlines set,but also the optimum resourcing required for the project. Be very careful to ascertain what this is and remember that throwing resources at a project will not ncessarily make it deliver faster. After all just because 5 testers can get through the work in 8 weeks it doesn't follow that 20 testers will get through the same work in 2 weeks.

So check with your team leads, and ask around other projects to determine what should be the optimum level of resourcing on your project. Then stick to the project time and cost this entails without deviating and you should end up with a successful outcome.

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