Sunday, November 16, 2014

Budget Black Hole

Why is it that almost every IT project has a budget based on guestimates, bound by fuzzy scope, and goals that are usually too constricted? Every time a project methodology is executed, the budget is in the books, not to be revisited. It is just a given, not flexible and not based on specific enough goals. Management will assure us that changes can be made, but how often does that happen, and which projects take priority by the end of the quarter (or bonus time)?


You can’t just say, for example, that our goal is to do “x” to content by the end of the first quarter. The first you hear about a project, it’s your responsibility to ask, “What are the specific goals?” and “Were these goals fully funded?” Asking questions like these will give your project manager pause, especially if you ask, “What are the success criteria?”

Success Criteria

Large companies have ways to pay for projects from other capital budgets to assure some form of success. The issue is does this success include all of the long-term aspects associated with a strong solution. When it comes down to the wire, we know that testing and quality will suffer if corners are cut from lack of money.

Here are some tips on creating success criteria.
  • Combine at least two aspects of success together, for example, migrate all content with 100% accuracy and on time. Notice I didn’t include how much it will cost.
  •  Include a stabilization period after go-live because there are always unanticipated issues after a large deployment. This will give the extra confidence that managers and Users need that issues will be resolved in a timely manner.
  • If a project is large, then don’t just break out the normal parts, breaking it out to smaller projects which can fulfill smaller goals, with the common understanding that whole will be larger than the parts.

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