13 March 2017

Size Matters

A lot of people seem to think that size is unimportant. In the small this might be true, but in the large scheme it becomes important quickly. 

When I say size, I'm talking about sizing work. In an age of ever shrinking project budgets and organization has limited funds to make choices with. No matter how you plan your work, you need to consider the initial and ongoing costs of any endeavor.  You simply cannot do that without a size. 

A number of people have suggested that we should just allocate money to an effort and get what we get from the money. For example, if I have a vision of a solution that will theoretically yield $1M in business value and I allocate $100k to a solution (1%) I can, in theory, build part or all of a solution to the $1M question. There are a lot of assumptions there, but go with it, assume its possible. We find ourselves asking, how did I get my $100k? From what pile of money did it come? How can I be sure that money will still be there when I start the effort? Do I cut the tail at $60 if I've realized 80% of the expected yield? 

All great questions and I wish you the best of luck in answering them. But the reality is that most organizations aren't prepared for this conversation. They may never be ready to answer those questions. What is more realistic is that an organization allocates some amount of money for projects, say $10M for the year, picks the hottest topics off their planning sheet and divvy the money between them. In order to do that you need to know roughly how big each one is. If you can't see how big things are you can't make good choices in this situation.

So, size really does matter.