It’s February and you are six months into a yearlong project. You are past the planning phase and are focusing on the heart of the solution when your phone rings; funding has been cut by 15%, now what?! After a bit of profanity, you need to sit down and regroup, “I quit!” is not an option.
Assess the current project budget. Are there places where the budget may have been inflated? Can a few tasks be removed from what’s left of the project to help make up that 15%? Can a key deliverable be removed? Can a report be eliminated now and implemented after deployment if it is truly deemed necessary later on? Scour the requirements and look for things that aren’t absolutely necessary that can possibly be removed to save portions of that 15%. Don’t try to go for all of it here…service may suffer.
Assess the current project team. Are you keeping resources on the project that may not be needed? Resources tend to charge to the project even if they aren’t doing much – most organizations want to see as close to 100% utilization as possible and if a resource has a project on their plate, they are likely to charge at least some time to it each week. Go lean – manage the budget with an iron fist and see to it that no time is charged to the project that isn’t absolutely necessary.
Assess your vendors. If you’re using any 3rd party vendors on the project, negotiate some better rates on their services or go with a different vendor at this late stage in order to save some meaningful amount toward that 15%? Of course, don’t do something drastic that could cause a failure point on the project, that’s a key decision point. Often vendors would rather cut a price than be completely cut out of the picture. Negotiate…it’s definitely worth a try.
Assess deployment related activities. Are there tasks, activities, deliverables – that you’ve priced into the engagement near deployment or after deployment that can be eliminated? It’s not wise, but you can cut the lessons learned session from the project. Circle back for free with a one on one phone call with sponsor on a lessons learned quick call…it’s still better than nothing. Or possibly some documentation deliverables could be eliminated (not wise, but maybe a drastic necessary move) or given away for free.
Ultimately: If the cut is from a valued customer, you may need to just eat that 15% and do that dollar amount of work for free. Is retaining this customer’s business or getting a good referral from them of utmost importance? If the answer is a definite ‘yes’, then you may have no other choice. If the project is internal and the cut is coming from your senior management, then it may be a concerning revelation about your company’s financial situation. You still can’t do anything about it but decrease services on the project – cutting staff just means someone else has to work harder and that effort will still hit the bottom line of the project…so no real help there.
It’s not likely one thing to will save the 15%. It will probably need to be minor reductions in a number of different areas on the project.