Adjustments to Staffing
A variety of circumstances might necessitate project staffing adjustments. Some common reasons
include change in the project scope, increase or compression of the project schedule, or incorrect
assumptions about the level of effort required to do the necessary work.
Budget Variances and Adjustments
A budget is, by definition, living documents and likely “wrong” at the outset of any project because it
is based on assumptions and predictions. As the project progresses, more information will become
available enabling a more precise and accurate project plan. Often the most impacted component of
the plan will be the budget. More accurate information about the scope, required tasks and available
people may necessitate adjustments to the budget. Any noted budget variances should be discussed
with the responsible team members with attention to the reasons for the variance, the likelihood of it
continuing, and alternatives for getting back on track or, if appropriate, a budget adjustment. Budget
variances should be analyzed in concert with progress on the project plan, as they may be symptomatic
of an incomplete or overly optimistic plan.
Communicating Adjustments to Project Team and Clients
The key point about adjustments is that new information should be regularly examined to assess
whether a change is within the scope of the project or whether it will affect the schedule, budget,
or staffing. Adjusting the project plan or budget is only part of the story. It is important to
communicate the adjustments and their ramifications to the project team and the clients.
The team members must understand how any adjustments will affect their continued work
on the project, and the client must understand how any adjustments will affect their business
objectives. Depending on the nature of the adjustments, the client’s approval may need to be sought
in advance. Be sure to include communications regarding adjustments in the communication plan so
that when adjustments happen, the entire team will be on board.
Case Study: Discovery Example
In a hypothetical e-discovery project, a budget to variance report might show the following when the
project had reached the document review phase. In this hypothetical, the plan is essentially on target.
The planning & administration, collections, and data intake phases are complete. While the collections
phase came in a little over budget, the other two completed phases were under budget and the near
complete phases are on target to come in at or under budget. If there were a significant variance
relative to the percent complete, there might be cause for concern requiring either an adjustment to
the budget for another phase or an adjustment to the overall budget.