I was talking with a project manager the other day. “I don't have enough developers. I don't have enough testers. I don't have enough UI people. What am I going to do?”
I said, “Well, you have enough people if you have more time. Do you have more time?” He rolled his eyes, and said, “What do you think?”
“Then, don't do the project. Management hasn't committed to the project. Why should you?”
Now, you might feel as if you can't say no. But if your management hasn't committed to the project by managing the project portfolio and committing to the project in the form of committing enough full-time people to the project, why should you?
If you feel stuck between a rock (your management), and a hard place (your inability to say no), consider these options:
- Tell your managers when you can start this project with the full-time people you need.
- Tell your managers when you can deliver this project. Hint, the end date is much longer than you, your managers, or anyone else can imagine. Much, much, much longer.
- Convince Influence, negotiate, beg, borrow, steal the people you need for one or two weeks and see what you can do with the people you need. Now, plan the rest of the project based on data.
Do not, under any circumstances, commit to an end date if you feel you must start a project with scarce resources of any kind. Do NOT.
You will have to learn to defensively manage the project portfolio–a difficult, but not impossible task for a project manager. You will have to coach your managers on how to manage the project portfolio. You may even discover your project is part of a program, which might make it easier to manage your project, once you understand the dependencies.
And, listen to my Spot On Projects” interview with Gil Broza on January 24. Sign up using this link, http://www.3pvantage.com/jrothman/opt-in.php?ver=RBL. To be honest, an agile approach, combined with influencing your managers to manage the project portfolio is the only way out of this mess. Do join us.