As I shared last week, one of my projects just missed its deadline. Looking back, I made a critical mistake in the way I managed my margin.
Margin is our “room to adjust” in the project. It’s also called contingency. As project managers, we all know that things will go wrong somewhere in the project. We use our margins to adjust when we encounter those obstacles (when a 3rd party provider drops the ball, nature delivers an ice storm, or a task exceeds its allotted time).
We must keep the majority of our margin at the “top” of the project (carried by me, the project manager), not at the “bottom” (dispersed among the team). Any margin distributed though the team will always be lost. Our only recourse is the margin we protect at the top. Otherwise, we lose the critical path.
On this project, I failed to protect any margin when the 3rd party company dropped the ball. I hope you learn from my lesson.
Thanks for listening.