Dear PM Advisor. September 17, 2012

Dear PM Advisor, At my company, when we plan projects, the end date gets carved in stone, but then management will pull resources from my project while still expecting me to meet the end date. What can I do?

Under-resourced in North Carolina

Dear Under-resourced,

Does management halve your budget, double your scope and jack up quality while they're at it?

Every project has constraints that define your success. The old 'Triple Constraint' I learned when I became a PMP has evolved to the present see-saw that shows the effect of changing constraints.

Here it is:

Notice that by increasing scope, quality or risk, you need to increase schedule, budget or resources for the project to succeed. Or you can decrease something else on the same side of the see-saw.

So when your management reduces resources you need to ask them how THEY plan to balance things. Will they add budget and replace the missing team members with contractors? Will they allow your schedule to slip as the remaining team members limp along best they can? Will they reduce scope or quality? Or will they accept the risk that this project fail? Sounds like they've been choosing the last option until this point.

In all seriousness, show them the balance and ask them the questions. Management owns the Project Management process and they need to make these tough decisions.

Good luck

PM Advisor

Send me your questions at Bruce@RoundTablePM.com