28 October 2009

Two Guesses & A Phenomenon

I can't believe I haven't already mentioned Dr. Roger Atkinson's paper titled Cost, Time and Quality: Two Best Guesses and a Phenomenon,

It's a great read. He points out that we come up with budgets and schedules "at a time when least is known about the project," then measure success based on the degree to which we live up to those guesses. Anyone else see something funny about that plan?

I would simply add that the longer the project, the less we know about it on Day 1 (or on Day -100, which is probably when we actually put the budget & schedule together).

Just one more reason to keep our schedules short... along with a compelling argument that the way we measure progress is often misleading, even when it's "accurate."

1 comment:

Gabe said...

I've always wondered why this phenomenon is the case. How is it that you estimate the cost of a project based on very limited information and then lock that estimate into place as a fixed budget? By the time work is actually performed, the reality of the work actions required and supporting budget to complete these work actions may be completely different. I never understood the logic of locking a budget based on an estimate.