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Pass The Tin Cup (and some thinking)

Tin_cup1_2 It's that time when all project managers take a deep breath and plunge forward into the unknown:  the project initiation stage.  That nebulous black hole where your project really isn't a project yet... it's more of a crawling idea.  The point where a business case needs to be built around the idea to see if it's strong enough to survive in the organization as a project.

The issue I hear from many of my project manager friends during the initiation phase (and sometimes into the planning phase) is that there is insufficient funding to move the project forward.

Ah, but therein lies the rub.  That lack of money in the initiation phase can be a blessing.  Twyla Tharp, originator of the broadway hit, Movin' Out, mentions the old adage in her book, The Creative Habit:  "Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they give unlimited resources."  She shares a great story about a time when she was handed the opportunity to choreograph a dance in the best of circumstances:  the top performance facility, the best dancers, the dream orchestra, ideal custume and lighting geniuses... all financed and underwritten to her desire.  The final result?  Well, let's just say she admits it wasn't her best work.  When we're given too much too soon, it undermines our creativity, our ingenuity, our resourcefulness, and our "street smarts."  The budget replaces the brain as the chief asset.  Some of the best projects launched have been on shoe string budgets because they have required more moxie than money.  Think of some of the most ingenious product launches... those that rocked our world.  Many were created by new companies with nothing... others by dying companies with nothing to lose.

Thought:  Before you blame the budget, how about pulling everybody into a room and passing the "mental tin cup" - see where that gets you on your next business case.

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Comments

Lucia

Sometimes I think you know exactly what I'm feeling that day or need to hear - and you post about it. Is their something I should know? Are you really a project manager?
It seems that every time I'm thinking of something you post the perfect advice or solution. Scary Mary I tell you!!!

The funny thing about...
"Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they give unlimited resources."
...is that to some the resources you have are minimal when to others those resources would seem great.

Maybe it is just human nature - we always want what we don't have... but if we stop and think of what we do have, we will realize the resources around us.

Timothy

Lucia... pure fatalistic luck, I guess.

(I tried claiming prophet status but couldn't afford the union dues.)

Glad to hear you are getting value from the posts.

Anyway, money (or any resource) in excess can squelch creative impulses because we try to outsource our ingenuity (Kind of like Mike Wagner's post about outsourcing your brand).

The times I've been happiest with my own accomplishment has been when I have not had the financial resources and had to rely on my mental resources instead.

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