I have recently been promoted to team lead. My project manager is assigning a new project to me along with two team members. I have discussed the project scope and efforts with project manager and proposed 45 working days to deliver the project. But my project manager is asking me to deliver it within 28 working days.

I have discussed this with the project manger but he is not listening to me. What should I do now?

  • Is it possible to cut out or simplify some of the deliverables? Apr 27, 2014 at 13:15
  • 1
    Did the PM give a reason for refusing to back away for 45 days? If you don't know why the PM refuses to back away, then you can't attack the reason the PM is not backing away. There is a huge difference between a PM's ego trip as the reason, and a contractual obligation to deliver within 28 days. If it is a contractual obligation, then you might have to ask for more resources. And "resources" may include someone who has put more time in as team lead that you have and who knows, for example, where the re-usable code is, who the fast coders are, and what the acceptable shortcuts are. Apr 27, 2014 at 14:41
  • I agree with @Joe Strazzere. Let's make a baby in one month with nine women.
    – Jim G.
    Apr 27, 2014 at 20:43

2 Answers 2

  1. Create a fairly detailed schedule with specific tasks, deliverables, execution times and dependencies (you probably already have that)
  2. Review with the project manager. Ask "where do you think my time estimates are off?", "what tasks could be skipped or streamlined?", "how do you suggest we compress this to 28 days?"
  3. Provide options and alternatives. These could be adding more people, dropping features or deliverable, staggering deliverables (so you have the important stuff after 28 days and the whole thing after 45 days), etc
  • This sounds a very good idea...I will do the same and share PM response in next couple of days with you. Thanks a ton
    – Jagz W
    Apr 27, 2014 at 14:36

Fast, cheap, good. Pick two. This is the reality of project work.

Have a high-level goal-oriented conversation with the PM. Ask him why he has the 28-day deadline. Find out his business goals and try to figure out how to make him successful. Promising 28 days and delivering in 45 will not make him successful. Make the project manager into your ally and make yourself into his ally.

(If his business goal is to prove you are an incompetent idiot, because he's been burned by project workers many times, he has a hard problem. It's not a problem you can solve for him. But you should still do your best to make his project successful even over his opposition.)

Resist the temptation to whip out your detailed schedule to prove you can't make 28 days. Even if it's true, it won't help. People don't react well when you try to prove they're wrong. They do react well when you say "together let's make this work."

Once you understand the PM's real needs, get his permission to share them with your team. Make sure everybody is working to meet those real needs.

If fast (28 days) is legitimately immovable because of some business problem, then you and the PM can sacrifice either cheap (by spending more money or labor) or good (by dropping parts of the requirements, or by declaring schedule victory before you've completed the end-of-project punch list).

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