S is for… Slush Fund

So, you’ve just been told about your shiny new project, and everything is all exciting and ready for you to stamp your authority on it and tell everyone how it’s going to be done. It’s great when it happens like that, isn’t it? I’m sure you’ve got loads of time to deliver too…

Well, you’d better get your finger out and start pulling a budget together. You’ll be wanting to get all your requirements and estimates sorted out, and your team, and your kit, and your licenses, and desks, and… What are you waiting for? You’d better hurry up, the clock is ticking you know.

Assuming all of that has gone swimmingly and your project is well underway. What happens when something unexpected comes up, like a change in the design means you need a new batch of licenses, or a misunderstanding of a requirement means one of your estimates is woefully light, one of the team takes a lot longer to complete their tasks?

Maybe you have an understanding boss, or a customer with deep pockets and an understanding nature. If so, then you can stop reading this one now and have another sip of ambrosia, provided your at-the-desk masseuse is finished.

If you’re still here, then this is when the Slush Fund comes into play. When your budget was compiled, was there contingency included in estimates for tasks that are now complete, are there any things that are no longer required, are there things that could be descoped from the project or deferred to a separately funded phase? Gather all those little pockets of cash together and see if that can be released to make up for your omission/issue. If so, you’ve probably avoided a bullet, for now.

Note: Some people may surreptitiously include extra dosh in some tasks or over-egg their estimates to include some slush when the budget is originally compiled. Of course, while the A-Z would never condone such a practice, it recognises it is a reality.

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