VOICES In the Trenches
7 Tips for
Take the subjectivity and speculation
out of estimating.
By Christian Bisson, PMP
Jordi Teixidó, PMP, is a project management
consultant at KION Management Consulting,
Estimating can be a tedious task, and the final
numbers are influenced by a daunting number of
factors: scope, type of project, resources involved
in estimating, type of client, unknown variables,
potential risks and more. But estimating is critical
to your project’s—and your organization’s—
success. These tips can help practitioners arrive at an
estimate that’s both useful and accurate.
1. Always include contingency
A contingency is something that’s expected to
be spent. Therefore, project managers shouldn’t
remove it from an estimate simply to make the
project look less expensive. In addition to a monetary contingency, also include the time and
resources needed to handle the work the contingency implies.
If the contingency is not needed, the project will
simply be done earlier and the organization can
keep the funds for another time.
2. Avoid making numbers fit the budget
When working on an estimate, a project manager
might be tempted to pressure the team to keep
the numbers optimistically low. But this creates an
estimate that is only good on paper; when the time
comes to justify an overage, the team members will
simply reveal that they were asked to estimate low
numbers and overage should be expected. If the
budget and scope are at odds, practitioners should
instead adjust the scope: Ask the team to provide
what can be done within the budget.
Changes continued in 2008 with the appointment
of head coach Josep Guardiola, who urged a stricter
work ethic. Mr. Guardiola began fining those who
showed up late to training. To encourage humil-
ity, he urged his team not to arrive at practice in
high-end cars. Players who refused to buy into the
new team-oriented system were transferred
to other clubs, including stars Samuel Eto’o
and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Off the field, the changes were striking
as well. “We decided that the club had to
be managed as a customer-oriented business, by professionals and by projects, with
proper management practices brought from
outside by people not linked to the past
failures and bad practices of the club,” Mr.
Ingla says. This message was delivered daily
to both internal and external stakeholders.
Focus was specially placed on the marketing sponsors area, where all contracts
were either renegotiated or canceled, and
the number of sponsors greatly reduced.
This simplified stakeholder engagement
and maximized the relationship with each
one. In the FC Barcelona transformation
program, sponsors acted as agents for the
soccer team to deliver its new vision.
In past years, top club executives took part in
many decisions about the selection of players. The
new management team decided that player selection had to be the responsibility of the soccer specialists, while the management board worked on
the overall strategy and transformation program.
The team’s offices were even redesigned into
a modern office layout, which emphasized that
management intended to bring up-to-date business
practices to the historic sport.
The results were spectacular: FC Barcelona went
from €123 million in revenues to over €450 million
in six years. But the key performance indicator in the
business of soccer is winning the top competitions,
and by 2006, the club was a runner-up for the UEFA
Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup. In 2009,
it won both of those, as well as four other championships—the first team in history to do so. PM
Continued from previous page
that the club had
to be managed
as a customer-
and by projects,
from outside by
people not linked
to the past failures
and bad practices
of the club.”