When writing the post on advice to a woman looking to marry in her 30s, I suggested she consider what good qualities in a man she would be willing to trade for more of some other good qualities. Part of what I was thinking about at the time is a tool used in project management called a Flexibility Matrix.
This is something a project manager fills out with direction from the sponsors when first starting the project. Sometimes the terms are slightly different, but the basic concept remains the same. If you have to choose, where are your priorities? Project sponsors are like everyone else; they want everything, and they want it cheaply (or for free) and they want it right away. No one can blame them, but sometimes reality doesn’t conform to their desires. This is where the flexibility matrix comes in. If the project represented in the chart above runs into problems, the project manager and the sponsor have already agreed that if needed they will add additional resources (funding, people, etc) to keep the schedule on time and avoid cutting features. If additional resources aren’t enough, their next decision would be to cut features to meet the project deadline. Deciding this upfront keeps everyone on the same page and makes the tough choices which can come up down the road easier to manage.
I know we are talking about a very subjective and emotion driven topic in a hyper rational way, but there is value in at least some careful planning. At the end of the process the outcome will be part plan, part emotion, and part gut instinct, and that is ok.
Anyway this is a fairly simple concept that I thought might add some to the existing discussion.