Hot answers tagged

18

Well the easy and probably not completely helpful answer is, agile requires a change in how the business plans. You fund teams, not projects. That's not entirely helpful so let me try and bridge the gap. The success of an agile project boils down to having a good backlog and dedicated teams. If you don't spend time planning a backlog, then you'll never ...


14

TL; DR Who is responsible for the project's money? The Product Owner is responsible for directing the use of the project's budget, while the funding source of the project varies by organization. Funding a Project Projects are funded in organization-specific ways. Usually, a project sponsor gets funding from a steering committee or the CFO. In other ...


12

Uncontrolled scope creep - the project starts with the best of intentions. It is well defined and understood, but somewhere along the way, someone asks for an extra bit of functionality, or a new interface, or some additional management information. Sure, it's not in the original specification, but it is only a small change... But unfortunately it is one of ...


10

TL;DR For agile projects, a basic formula for estimating budget is: (totalStoryPoints / velocity * teamHoursPerSprint) + nonLaborCosts = budgetEstimate The results should be reported as an estimated range using statistical confidence intervals or a "high, low, average" method. Estimate Budget Using Iterations The "secret" to estimating agile budgets is ...


9

Some good answers, but the most important one seems to be missing, the one that addresses al of the others - the main factor that causes projects to fail is weak project management. Looking at all of the answers so far, all of them can and should have been addressed and controlled by the PM. Scope creep, change control, project kick-off, assumptions, ...


7

If I should pick one it would be poor or/and infrequent communication in as many aspects as you can name. Poor or/and infrequent communication with client leads to poor requirements, problems with scope, issues with prioritizing, decreasing feedback loop and many more, delivering different from what the client wanted within the team leads to code ...


7

Management Owns Cost-Overruns A Developer estimates between 70 to 100 hours for a task. Due to the urgency of the task and the developer's unavailability, a far less experienced developer is assigned to the project. The new developer takes 200 hours to complete the task. This is the agency's responsibility 100% of the time. Whether the estimate was wrong,...


6

From experience turning around too many messy situations: Weak vision - poor understanding of the end goal. (Symptom: focus on features over the business case) Undocumented requirements - too much in peoples head. (Symptom: new requirements in testing) Poor metrics - lack of rigorous quantifiable progress updates. (Symptom: late slips of large magnitude ...


6

If it were me, I'd answer the following questions: What is the parent company's vision, mission, and guiding principles? What is the parent company's top ten priorities for this year, next, and in five years? What is the IT department's vision, mission, and guiding principles? What are its critical success factors? What does the IT department's current SWOT ...


6

Risks are typically classified into these two categories: Known Unknowns and Unknown Unknowns. You can break the latter down into Unknown Knowable Unknowns and Unknown Unknownable Unknowns. Known knowns are not risks since this implies certainty. You have two types of drivers when it comes to your budget and schedule risks. The first driver is ...


6

One way to think about it is using the classic "accuracy vs. effort" curve. Sure, you can spend significant time planning up front, but you quickly hit diminishing returns on accuracy and will most definitely waste time planning things that won't make it into the final product (placing yourself far along the curve). Or you can take an agile mindset and ...


6

TL;DR Your job as a Product Owner (PO) or Project Manager (PM) is not to have all the answers. Your job is to have a vision, and to communicate options to stakeholders and business decision-makers. Analysis and Solutions What if somebody is asking a salary increase? if I keep him, I have higher costs. Hence probably my budget will blow up. I can try to ...


5

Yes and no. The controls you put into place are the same no matter the size. A project is a project. However, when you are dealing with more money, you are dealing with more risk, so the rigor and formality will increase. This means your documentation becomes more formal, your processes more explicit and monitored, your inspections formally scheduled.


5

Think "Communications," Not Collections The nature of your budgetary obligations is obviously dependent on the definition of the Project Manager role within your particular organization. However, in my experience "chasing money" isn't the proper role of a project management professional. For example, you are probably not an enforcer working for a loan-...


5

Use Backlog Estimation to Provide Planning Values In Scrum, teams often perform a first pass through the Product Backlog (generally at the Theme or Epic levels) at the start of a project in order to define project scope and to set initial target dates. While story points, Sprint Goals, and the Product Backlog frequently change over the life of the project, ...


5

Two key expectations from a PM are: Assess, track and report Risk Manage Stakeholder's expectations You are doing all the risk management, and it seems the second part could be improved. So, you could take some actions, such as Consider and cost, on your original plan, the risk of going 50% beyond schedule. With this, you'll be agreeing upfront the ...


4

In my experience the single biggest problem is communication. With communication you can get everybody on the same page, agree on simplifications, avoid unnecessary work, identify problems, address problems, resolve issues, mitigate risk, and all the other ingredients of a 'decent' project. Therefore more recommendation would always be: Fix the ...


4

US federal funding agencies such as the NSF, NIH, NEH, and NEH-ODH (these are the ones with which I have personal familiarity) with all at least have the following publicly available on their web site: abstracts of funded projects (taken directly from their project proposals; see the NSF's, for example) a sample proposal for each award program (in several ...


4

An interesting question and the right kind for anyone who wants to build their career to be asking. Every answer you receive will involve some (or many) generalizations. For context, I will keep the discussion to custom software development projects that are an order of magnitude above what you are doing now. Project Characteristics The characteristics of ...


4

TL; DR Big-budget projects aren't about pinching Lincoln until he screams; they're about deliverable high-stakes business value. The frameworks, and most of the controls, will remain the same. It's your perspective that needs to change most. Impact of Budget on Frameworks From a framework standpoint, the project's budget has nothing to do directly with ...


4

Should a project Manager include his own cost when costing a project? The cost of project management is in the project of course, but as far as I can tell the project costs are rarely decided by project managers; the customer decides how much he is willing to pay for a certain project. Then executives calculate a bit and end up with a budget for the project....


4

All in all, I really would like to understand what Budget Cost actually means compared to EAC and the Opportunity Cost for example and who is responsible for calculating it? Budget Cost is essentially the estimate of total project costs at the start of the project. Since this is an estimate it can (likely will) be somewhat different than the Cost of the ...


4

TL;DR Risks can be accepted, controlled, or transferred. Your project plan should certainly include risk analysis and recommended controls, but the risks properly belong to the project stakeholders. As the project manager, you should focus on documenting the risks and providing reasonable project controls for those risks that aren't accepted or transferred. ...


4

I'm going to read between lines a bit here, but I think the issue that management has is not explicitly that the mitigation strategy is too reactive- mitigation, almost by definition, has to be reactive. I think the issue is that the way you are handling the project is demonstrating that you don't really know what the budget or timescale should be and that ...


4

There is a difference between an estimate and planning value. An estimate is a probabilistic range and should include variables such as less qualified resources doing the work plus about 1,000 other aleatory and epistemic variables. Therefore, the proper estimate should have been 70 to 200+ hours. In this range, you need to chose the planning value, say ...


4

TL;DR There's nothing wrong with your vendor's model. The problems are: There's a mismatch between their business model and yours; and Your budget doesn't account for the known costs and business model of your current vendor. You have lots of alternative options. Pick one. Analysis Pay 2-5 hours for investigating, if it is fixed during those hours we ...


3

I think in most cases this is already decided by contract or corporate policies, so PM is just following it. From my experience in most cases PM cost is part of project cost, mostly indirect cost...


3

All labor and materiel resources required to successfully deliver a project are part of the contract budget base. This would include project management processes, which typically is between 5% to maybe as high as 20% of the total budget base, depending on industry and other factors. PM processes include the PM role, as well as project PM control roles. So,...


3

Attempts to create certainty where no certainty exists. This usually results in over-detailed specifications around new, complex areas, with the same detail then being carried into the simpler parts of the project which were already well-understood anyway - so, scope creep. However, it also results in managers trying to fit their employees to the model ...


3

Inaccurate or poorly communicated assumptions - At the start of the project, the project sponsors, management, an other key stakeholders have a vision about what the project will do and how it will likely progress. To do that, they have to make some logical guesses on how things stand now and what will happen soon. Often times, that "common understanding" or ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible