Monday, February 20, 2023

If you had it, could you spend it in a month?

Here's the challenge: On your project, if you had it in hand could you spend $1M in a month?
Take a minute and think about it.
Actually, take a minute and estimate the possibilities.
Does money solve all the problems?

If it's just a workforce issue (marching army costs), then:
  • If you've got 100 people with an annual payroll of $15-20M, then yes, it's possible, even likely
  • If you've got 20 people with an annual payroll of $3-5M, then maybe, with overtime and some material charges.
But, if you need new physics, then money, even if you have it, may not be spendable.
So, can you spend it, or not?
Got your answer?

Then here's another challenge: If you can spend $1M in a month, can you do a $1M project in a month? Are they one and the same thing?
Probably not.
  • It's hard to get a crowd of people up and moving coherently to start and finish something in a month (that $1M may disappear into "start-up" inefficiencies)
  • It's not too hard to get 20 people moving, but you might have to really work on motivation if you think you're going to spend $1M on people, but there may be tools, training, facilities, etc that will absorb funds.
So, having thought about it, maybe if you really need your 100-person team, 2 months and $2M is a better thing to have;
And, if you only need your 20-person team, even with overtime, you will be hard pressed to spend as much as $1M

What does all this mean?
To know whether you can spend $1M in a month, you've got to make some estimates (gasp! that dreaded word), if only on the back of the nearest envelope.

Perhaps a bit crude and rude, but at least the 'breadbox' is somewhat defined

But we do it all the time; most of us are decent estimators for those events and activities for which we have experience. Never let it be said that  we are not making estimates nearly every minute of the day:
  • How long to get to the computer (home or office)
  • How long for that meeting
  • How much time to spend on email
  • How much to spend on a car, hotel, or even a cruise
  • On, and on, estimating!

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