You can’t squeeze your project into greatness – expand it!

You can't squeeze your project into greatness - expand it!

As project managers, sometimes you are handed a poorly designed project that spells failure from day one. You immediately fall back on the triple constraints of scope, time, and cost. Then, if all you think about is how to cut costs and limit scope in order to deliver on time, you are squeezing your project. People are not inspired nor motivated by that.

Instead, you may need to tap into your business acumen and elevate your thinking to the next level. Transcend the limited delivery of project outputs. The way to deliver benefits may actually be to use the triple constraints in the opposite direction.

Sometimes, contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder and project managers are left to squeeze value from limited resources, which includes people, your project team members. That doesn’t inspire anyone, not the leaders, not the managers, and definitely not the worker bees. You may need to come up with alternative business proposals to deliver realizable benefits to the sponsor, key stakeholders, or clients. Speak the language of business and benefits, not scope and capacity.

Use the risk management matrix to identify a key risk as the failure to deliver the benefit. Ask stakeholders if they accept the risk of delivering limited benefits. Present the option to exploit the risk by expanding the scope, increasing the budget, and extending the timeline. Or perhaps to initiate another project. By doing so, you demonstrate that you have business acumen, one component of PMI’s Talent Triangle.