The group were really impressed with the skills of their colleague.
I was running a project sponsorship programme, and to make a point, I asked the group about the skills people had outside of work. One of the group spoke about making wedding cakes. She showed us some photographs of cakes she had finished. They were amazing, and had great decoration, and use of colour. She explained to the group that she made cakes for friends and family, and had made a good number over the years.
I then moved the goalposts! I asked her how much the ingredients cost for one of the pictured cakes she had made. She gave a figure. I then asked her how much time she put into making one of the pictured cakes. She estimated it was made over 2 weekends, 4 days in total.
I moved the goal posts again! I asked her how much the pictured cake would cost if purchased commercially. She suggested a figure which most people gasped at. It was expensive, but she said, “I do not take account of my time.” Exactly, that’s my point!
I asked the group what would be the impact of them charging for their time or allocating time to projects for themselves, and the project staff involved. There was silence; but it was silence with smiles, as the group suddenly realised the impact of the point. As one person commented the list of projects may well be shorter, if we factored in our salary costs, and those of our staff (each person highlighted on post it notes the names of projects they were involved in – one project per post it note).
He was critical of project board meetings which he said lasted too long and cost too much, and suggested he would now start to look at this as an issue. (Some of the projects were internal projects, however some were charged out to clients but as one person asked, “What is the basis for the charge out?”)
What about the list of projects in your company? What would be the impact of ‘considering costs’ and is it worthwhile doing? Is time free in your company?