Project Estimate – What happened after I was persuaded to cut it

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Project Estimate
Project Estimate - don't change it

Project Estimate

This was posted by reader rocro and is about the effects to him and the project of cutting the project estimate.

Reduced Estimate

As a technical-functional guy I did some estimate – 100 days for a fixed project for my company (you see me coming?).

My Team Leader and the Project Manager of our company ‘persuaded’ me to ‘estimate’ 50 days.

Persuaded to Cut

The conversation went :
– a 100 days, can it not be done in 50 ?
– No, a 100 days is the minimum.
– So 50 days is not feasible, we have to do it in 50 days.
– It takes a 100 man-days (FTE’s – Full time equivalent)
– But you can do it in 50 no ?

– You HAVE to do it in 50.

..and that went on and on till finally I was pressurised to do it in 50

The Result

The result was that I had to work 15 hours a day and 7 days a week (no exaggeration here) for months on end.

The project manager of my company did ask me for some other ‘favours’ in order to ‘fool’ the client. I had to say we worked on the project with 4 people (instead of me alone), which I also did, for the good name of our company.

The Demo

Anyway, one day I came to the client’s side for some demo, for which I was a bit late (had to take a plane to Switzerland with a slight delay). I came into the meeting room and felt a really cold atmosphere there – at which point I took over the demo (our project leader did not know anything about the demo-session and product I developed – despite being an expert functional consultant in the domain).

The demo went pretty well and afterwards I sat together with the client side people and project manager, and there it was.

The guys told me, ‘beware, they are killing you behind your back !’ – but we are aware you are the only person doing any good and decent work (that’s why we have the system logs in an ERP system anyway he he : ).

The Moral of the Story

The moral of the story is that you STICK with your ESTIMATE for which you have the technical and functional knowledge, and if ANYBODY wants to reduce the estimate, commercial people to sell the project or the team leaders and project managers who have their agenda (promotion), it is THEIR TASK AND RESPONSIBILITY to reduce the estimate to FURTHER THEIR GOALS!

Otherwise ‘YOUR’ project estimate will backfire on YOU.

By the way, I quit that company and became an independent contractor – my sole responsibility is now towards my client, and that works wonderful.

I also became a lot more ASSERTIVE in the meanwhile and do not regret for a second becoming a contractor.

Good luck my friend, and know for whom you are estimating!

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