PM Advisor. October 17, 2016

Dear PM Advisor,

When I take over a project, I am handed a Project Charter that has been already filled out and I am being expected to meet dates and budgets I had no part in creating. Doesn't this go against your philosophy of letting those responsible for meeting the dates and costs predict those during the planning phase? 

Set up for failure in Morrisville, NC

Dear Set up,

The Project Charter and Project Plan are created by different groups of people during different phases of the project's life. The Charter is usually created by a small group during the Initiation Phase using knowledgeable people from multiple functions but less than 80 hours of total effort. The Charter is used to help management decide if a project is feasible to move to the planning phase and the estimates contained therein should be assumed to be +/- 40%. Any management team who considers these estimates to be carved in stone are operating in a low state of Project Management Maturity. 

If the project is moved forward to planning, a full team of experienced resources should be assigned to complete the full planning activities, a job that could take weeks and hundreds of hours of effort, depending on the project's size and complexity. Even these estimates are considered to be +/- 20%. 

So stand firm to this philosophy and tell your management that you will be happy to refine the estimates written in the Charter and bring them from 40% to 20% accuracy.

Good luck,

PM Advisor.

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