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How Much and How Long?
Never fails, the first thing management wants to know for any project are those two things: How Much and How Long. Whether you've been a Project Manager (PM) for a decade or a day, that question will come up, and typically sooner than it should, from the PM's point of view. So, when you are responsible for delivering a project, how do you address the question?
The Project Management Institute's (PMI's) training for the PMP (Project Management Professional) certification will tell you to give a range and the earlier in the project, the wider the range:
$1-5 million dollars
And as the project is more defined you widdle down the answer until you know enough about the project to give an almost definitive answer:
Barring any major change orders, this should take about 13 months and $4.6 million.
The wise leader will put in that qualifier so that when things do change (as they always will) he/she has a way of responding when management says:
YOU said it would be 13 months and $4.6 million, what happened?