Issues come up, bumps in the road occur, many things work against the project manager and his team throughout the engagement as they try to deliver on the project. That said, there are a few negative things or statements from the project team, the customer, and even the PM’s senior management that can basically ruin the PM’s day as he tries to successfully deliver on the project. I’m sure there about 500 more such statements, but I thought it would be interesting to examine four relatively common ones in this article.
As you read this post, be thinking of all those statements you’ve heard over the years that have caused you grief on the projects you manage or participate on and please share them here so we can discuss.
Here are my four contributions to the discussion…
That’s just not possible. This could come from your business analyst, your lead developer, or possibly even your customer depending on what the issue is and what is being discussed. The project manager rarely wants to hear “We can’t do it that way” – especially if it’s concerning the already agreed upon, planned course of action. What that means at this point is some replanning and rework is going to be needed and the budget is going to take a hit. Time to get out your project management software and start doing some rework on the project schedule.
There’s no money for that. This one can come from your senior management if it’s an internal project or from your customer if it’s a client project. Either way, it’s not something the project manager wants to hear mid-stream of an engagement. It usually results in a significant reduction in the functionality of the final solution OR it may mean your project has jumped the shark and is heading for cancellation.
Usually, the first thing the project manager must do upon hearing this statement is to go into their project management software schedule and look at where modifications can be made to start reducing the costs of the project. Offering some proactive solutions may keep the project going and keep the project budget in the black.
We have to have it sooner. When you hear this from your customer, beware. You may be inclined to throw more resources at the effort to get it done faster, but you’ll likely kill the project budget in the process. If you hear this from your customer, then it’s time to sit down with them and find out how important it is that something be delivered earlier than what was originally planned and agreed upon in the project management software schedule. If they must have it sooner, then it’s imperative that you let them know that it may increase the project budget… significantly.
I’m not paying for that. This one, of course, comes from the customer. You’ve just presented them with a change order for work that is needed on the project and you and your team have deemed it to be ‘out of scope.’ Those are three words that the customer rarely wants to hear. Unless it’s an obvious change in scope, you may hear the “I don’t want to pay for that” statement – or some variation of it. You will reach a point where you have to decide if the line in the sand is worth drawing. In most cases, if it’s a really sticking point with the customer, then you should consider negotiating and possibly giving away some free hours to help defray the costs of the change. It will keep customer satisfaction high in the long run.
Has this discussion of four evoked any painful memories from your PM past or present? Please share any negative remarks you’ve encountered that have significantly impacted forward progress on any of your projects. Let’s discuss…