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My Plea to Project Sponsors
By Ron Rosenhead

Project manager (PM) – So you are asking me to deliver this project by 30 January 2013? (This is after a 30 minute discussion about the project)

Project sponsor (PS) – Yes, that’s right

PM – At this stage, I cannot be certain that we can deliver this by the end date.

PS – Why do you say this?

PM – Well, we have not developed a business case yet and established what the business benefits will be. I cannot see where the 31 January 2013 fits.

PS – It’s the date I promised delivery. I gave this date to the Board.

PM – I understand the promise however as mentioned, I cannot guarantee that the project will be delivered by that date. I am at a loss as to why you have given a date for delivery to the board when I as a project manager haven’t been involved in discussions on delivery date.

PS – Well, that’s the end date you will need to work to.

PM – OK, so as project manager I will need 3 more staff or £28,000 to hire some extra staff to cover that period. That’s my estimation of how this project will be delivered by the date you have given.

PS – But how can you say that without going through the planning process?

PM – Easy, I have used the same way you have estimated the end date!

PS – Ah!

Well, let’s leave these 2 to discuss the outcome…

My plea to all project sponsors; please, do not promise to deliver by a specific date or budget without consulting your project manager. I have had so many project managers’ complain to me that they are left with impossible deadlines given in the spur of the moment. Yes, there are those projects that absolutely must be delivered by a specific date – compliance type projects spring to mind. But, and it is a big but, ensure delivery dates (and budgets) are realistic, and not given ‘on the hoof.’

So, to repeat my plea to all project sponsors; please, do not promise to deliver by a specific date or budget without consulting with your project manager.

Ron Rosenhead is a trainer, consultant speaker and coach all in the area of project management. He has vast consultancy and training experience and you can read his blog at http://www.ronrosenhead.co.uk

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