How many times have you heard those words? (Or how many times have you spoken them?)
It’s a very common phrase in the workplace, and is steeped in denial and fear. These words are meant to justify a specific course of action and are ultimately self-destructive.
Project environments are particularly prone to this behaviour, because they often involve news of scope change. While scope change isn’t a bad thing, it can invalidate existing work approaches, breaking momentum and throwing everyone into a tizzy. For some, it’s easier to accept the scope change and continue on an irrelevant course, than it is to stop, take a breath, and figure out the best next steps for everyone involved.
Take for example, the following dialogue:
— “The client wants a ton of changes that won’t fit in the budget and I’m
going to have to make them for free.”
— “But that’s not reasonable.”
— “Yeah, well, you just don’t get it.”
In this case, fear of explaining the nature of project rework to the client is pushing the speaker to lock himself into a) personally paying for the changes or b) demanding that the service providers perform free change work.
There’s an aspect of martyrdom to this behaviour that, while not necessarily intentional, can result in project workers resenting the speaker. If the behaviour is persistent, project workers may come to refuse to work or dig their heels in, making life difficult for the rest of the team. If the team slows down work, the project can run into trouble.
The project manager’s job is not to blindly accept and try to satisfy all of the client’s arbitrary wishes. Their job is to deliver the project. To do so means presenting facts to the client, so the client can make informed decisions.
If the facts are, scope changes are going to require additional funding, or require more time, behaving otherwise is a flaw in judgment that won’t lead any place good.
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