I am running a live technical project running kanban. There is only one developer on board and he is moonlighting to do it. The difficulty that I have is that the client is demanding more and more work to be done causing the developer a lot of stress since he can't keep up. Given a lack of company resources i.e. we cannot afford to hire somebody full time. As well as the fact that are a lot of the deliverables are post launch deliverables.I am stuck with this developer.

What is the best way to deliver projects in this situation where a lack of resources is affecting your ability to deliver the project on time, or recruit additional resources.

Demanding more and more work means you get more time. If you are not negotiating more time but accepting more work, you're out of control...change control to be specific. We all do projects with less resources than what we would like. You need to learn to set better expectations, to accept additional work with additional time and additional money. If the developer cannot do the work in the time frame the customer wants it, you charge more money and get additional resources. It's simple math.

The way this reads, your project is not being managed. So if you're the PM, you're the issue, not your developer, not your customer.

  • I am not involved on the sales side unfortunately. That is probably half of the problem, it also does not help that we are cash strapped so are more likely to give into client demands to generate cash flow. – bobo2000 Apr 5 '16 at 10:56
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    Your sales team is selling without a price? Your company is not getting paid for what the sales team is selling? Your company has bigger problems than project management! – David Espina Apr 5 '16 at 11:14
  • The problem is that they set unrealistic targets at times to get a deal in. Once the deal has been brokered, I am then expected to deliver it no matter what the set up is. It is stressful like hell. – bobo2000 Apr 5 '16 at 11:21
  • This is not atypical. But it also reads like the delivery team is not involved in the sales cycle. The delivery team needs to be involved with a vote on price and delivery terms. If delivery's not involved, your sales cycle is still broken. You need to change this dynamic. – David Espina Apr 5 '16 at 13:08
  • Yeah I understand, I am a developer turned PM, that is quite new to me. – bobo2000 Apr 5 '16 at 14:30

You need to define milestones.

Each milestone will have some deliverable and a target date.

This will then create some sort of delivery schedule.

With this information, you go back to the sales team and inform them how this project will be delivered. (Make sure it's all documented; e.g. send it by email.)

They can decide to accept it, or add resources. No 3rd choice available.

Now that you've injected a reality check into the Project Management, you can use that as a defense: "I informed you that this part would not be delivered before that date".

  • Agreed. Since it's Kanban I would replace "milestone" with some kind of prediction based on cumulative flow, cycle times etc and I would favour accurate but approximate projections over safe dates. – Nathan Cooper Apr 6 '16 at 13:09
  1. First of all give some credit to developer, since he still works under that pressure. I can assure you that productivity and good implementation comes when developer is not pressed and is able to devote time to think out his project.

  2. Second, you gotta limit incoming tasks. Formalize them good enough, so that dev starts implemeting them when they're fully ready.

  3. Give this dev only tasks that fit into his hours. He can't squeeze 80-hour project into a working week. Or he can once, but then his productivity will fall, due to need to for some recreation.

  4. If you want to think about outsourcing, you gotta know that your billable hours will dramatically increase, at least during the first stage. You'll need to find people, chew on the tasks, make sure everything's ready and look after outsourcing guys very carefully.

Next project - have post-launch stuff written in contract. Make sure client understands this as well. Post-launch procedures also require dev time. And dev time is billable, always.

Your only ability is to plan good, steady release-cycle for updates, that are possible to deliver, and that are predictable. Having client hysterically shout that he wants something asap is not helping the situation.

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