Natural Constraints – Budget and Quality

Yesterday I wrote about being Done On Time. I know that many people are wondering how in the world they are going to be able to pay for a project that is done in the time you have set, and achieve the results that you want.

This is why the Done On Time framework is so helpful. It starts the conversation with a well-defined sandbox where you want to play. Start your project by knowing what time you will be done, and what you will measure at the end of the project. Once you have this, everything else becomes a negotiation.

If your time is a year, and your “done” is that 200 people will come through your new store in a day, then you need to solve for the budget and quality of those people who come through your store. If you want people to make quick purchases, a vendor’s stand on a busy Toronto street might be enough. If you are looking for 200 people who will be perusing your musical instrument showroom, your budget will be much more significant.

The key is to let your definitions of done and on-time be the set-in-stone variables. Everything else can change. Your company may want to have the product release on June 30th, and the goal is to sell 3,000 units in the first month. It is an easy conversation to have to be able to say, “We can have this done on time, but it is going to cost you $x extra. Or the quality is going to be at a level 7 instead of level 8.” If you give that clear information, you will be surprised how quickly more money is found if level 7 is a problem. Or you might find out that a lower level of quality isn’t a problem at all.

Don’t change your Done On Time criteria once it has been set. No matter how much you want to. If you do this, you will never be done on time. You will only be done sometime. Change the other variables to work to being done on time. Get everyone’s buy-in (easier said than done) but don’t change you’re done on time definition.

No one will complain if your project gets on time. I promise.