Sounds twisted. I tried to think of a more catchy title, but it’s been a long day. (smile)
Here is the big idea: When you ask someone on your team to estimate the cost and schedule for a project…to deliver something that you can approve…then you have already started to spend money.
The cost to produce the cost includes:
- Researching the project consumes available staff resources. Your team has to shift time from other projects to deliver the proposal.
- If the end date is already determined, the research process consumes time out of the schedule and reduces the amount of time needed to deliver
- It takes time to consider the pros and cons of each deliverable…to envision various alternatives…to compare their costs…and to pick the best direction.
- Sometimes, we have to fund time for contractors to do the R&D to produce an estimate for their work
- We always have to estimate those unknown expenses that will occur once we begin. Whenever the schedule requires you to make decisions before the research is finished, the amount set aside for contingency should be increased. The less research we perform on the front end, the more likely we will blow the budget (or schedule) on the back end.
That is why we often make decisions to “just get going” without a good project plan. But, the alternative is worse. Spend the time and money to find out how much the project will cost you. Just know that the work to scope out a project doesn’t come for free.
Thanks for listening.