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Clients, Budgets, and The Credit Card Phenomenon

Filed Under Human Factors, Software Process

Burning Credit Cards

There are many big reasons why you want stakeholders involved in a project including: input, feedback, direction, and buy off. However, all projects have a single thing in common – budget.

When project owners get left in the dark (or sometimes keep a blind eye on purpose) they run the serious risk falling trap to the Credit Card Phenomenon.

The Credit Card Phenomenon occurs when people become disassociated with their money due to using credit cards. They no longer rely on the physical signs that they are spending money – explicit counting of money, physically handling money, and the resulting lighter back pockets. In essence, they are keeping a blind eye on their pocket books.

Project owners that are not involved in the software projects that they are funding run this exact same risk. I have seen on numerous occasions clients enjoy that “spending high” as their projects burn through their budgets with little or no direction.

Of course, this story has a sad ending. In the end, the client is unsatisfied because they had no clue that they were burning budget at such a high burn rate, and they do not have the resulting product that they needed as an outcome.

At least, once a week involve your client in a team meeting and explicitly show them how much they have using a budget burn down chart. It is absolutely necessary that software teams identify these situations as your reputation as a team and company depend on it.

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