A project is made up of scope schedule and resources. It forms the basis of project management, called the flexibility matrix.
Highly Flexible Moderately Flexible Not Flexible
A smart project manager knows, that no one will give him this flexibility matrix. Nor can he share his flexibility matrix with anyone, not even his wife :). A smart project manager will know that he has to ask the right questions to the right people at the right place at the right time to construct this
secret flexibility matrix. A smart project manager will not pin people to what they say, but pin the project to what is
understood from what they say.
Its not a trick, its a art. Its a smooth river flowing like water. Take time to develop. This is one skill that is not taught
I suggest. Cool Down. Start to believe that
your neck is not on the line. Start to communicate with people outside of office, outside of their cubes, outside of their cabins, outside of their stressful work environments. Connect with them at a personal level. 50% issues will be resolved. Since people will start telling you the truth on your face. You will be able to make a few puzzles fit really well. Some you will have to talk to other people and make decisions.
Develop your questioning skills. When you walk with these people for a cup of tea, coke ask questions, try to understand things that you did not care about. Kill that tough exterior of yours. Let people be approachable, stop doing what you are doing, and listen to people. Be ok getting disturbed. People will help you get the
secret flexibility matrix done.
Edit : Kind of questions you need to ask
- Why is this feature important ? Make a personal judgement about it and discuss it out.
- What if we don't deliver this feature ? Who is impacted ? Be careful when you ask this question. You should already know the answer to this question, but you should ask this question, state what you believe and tell them how important you think this feature is. Discussions again here.
- If you ask, what is the priority of this feature and complain about lack of time/resources to complete the work, I can bet you will get a response "high priority". So a smarter question to ask is, what feature do you want us to complete first. Talk about sequencing, instead of priority. This always hits them in the face :). They have to tell you what is more important to them. Here be careful and dont ask stupid questions like, should I first sort the data or import the data :).
Sequencing instead of
Priority always does the trick.
Kind of questions for schedule
- Will this feature be used 10 days after release ? If the probabilility is low, can I live with this defect and deliver a patch after the main release ?
- How many customers will be impacted by the loss of this part of the feature ?
- How soon will a customer identify the missing part of the feature ?