I Was not Sedated When I Derived the Estimate

Working the project budget from a hospital room I was loosely fit into a hospital gown, hair net, and non-slip socks – less than six hours away from a non-trivial surgery. I had my laptop on my bedside table and was working furiously, because I knew that SWMBO (She Who Must Be Obeyed) was expecting a final project schedule to help arrive at the Cost Management Plan. I had agreed to assist with this task only a few days earlier, but was unexpectedly interrupted when a surgery date opened up.

I wasn’t complaining. I have always been the type of IT professional who completed my assigned tasks regardless of the circumstances. The only problem with this assignment was that no matter what estimating tools and techniques I tried, I could not make the schedule or numbers work for the budget SWMBO thought we needed for the bid. It was hard to derive the Cost Management Plan when I couldn’t even derive the estimates or budget from the initial set of bid requirements.

Shortly before I was put under, I provided what I had to the proposal team.

It was several weeks before I returned to work, and by then I had lost track of what happened with the bid. However, it wasn’t long before I found out. The project had been bid much lower than I had envisioned. The “death march” had begun. And a couple of years later, it didn’t end well.

Next time trust your delivery expert. He or she is closer to the solution than you might give them credit for.


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