A lot of (read:all) project management literature and methodology focuses on knowing your budget and deadlines for when projects need to be completed and how much they should cost.

At my workplace, small family-owned construction business, ownership takes a /very/ active hand in almost everything that goes on, including quoting jobs and estimating time requirements.

Their approach to budget and deadlines has always seemed to be (on the surface) "ever how much we need to spend" and "as long as it takes". However, in practice, this is actually "as little as possible" and "as soon as possible".

Deadlines and budgets are guarded/invisible except to finance and ownership. The only time that project personnel are made aware of spending and time requirements are when something is deemed "costing too much" and "taking too long", and "[our department] isn't making any money".

All attempts to talk with management/ownership about sharing budget and time constraints (for any number of PM reasons) are met with "just keep doing what you're doing", "you don't really need to know that", and "that's what I do".

I'm not sure if this is a workplace issue, or if there is something I'm not getting PM wise (relatively new to PM), or if this is just how small business works.

So my question: how can I

A. a work around not having crucial information, or

B. explain to my boss that in order to do my job properly, I need that crucial information?

(if this should be moved to workplace SE, please let me know).

  • Have you been doing your job successfully without this info? Sometimes schedule and budget are fixed and all you need to do is ensure scope is completed on time. It's still project management. Oct 12, 2017 at 4:39

2 Answers 2


So my question: how can I a) work around not having crucial information, or b) explain to my boss that in order to do my job properly, I need that crucial information?

In the absence of budget and time constraints your main objective is to prioritize work by value gained and ensure that work can be completed efficiently. That puts you in the best position to satisfy whatever hidden expectations concerning budget and time exist.


If you do not know what your targets are to which to plan and to work, then you have zero accountability and responsibility for those targets. None.

Focus on doing the job and doing the job well. When they approach you about "costing too much" or "taking too long," you can respond professionally about mitigating those things such as examining the possibility of using cheaper resources or fast-tracking some of your schedule where you think you can but avoid taking ownership of the cost or schedule overruns. Those metrics are not yours. However, offering to mitigate those things may impact the quality of your scope, which IS yours, so offer to mitigate carefully without impacting what he can hold you responsible for.

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