I work with a woman named Mandy, and she’s great! I’m a project manager at a small website development company and Mandy works with me to set the budget and make sure we don’t go over. She has to sign off on purchase orders, payment approvals, etc. I really like working with her — she’s funny and reliable and really good at her job. Her projects never go over budget, and management loves that.

What’s the problem, then? Mandy tries to force her predictable model on an unpredictable workflow. If we have a $10 increase in the cost of a widget that we need to make a doohickey, she will not sign off on anything until she’s found a way to save that $10 somewhere else. This can take hours.

Often, this isn’t much of an issue, because the widget person has 20 other widgets they’re working on, so it’s easy to switch focus. But sometimes, the entire project is stalled while we wait (which impacts negatively on my performance reviews).

I admit I’m more of an “approve now, figure out the budget later” kind of person (which is why I don’t have or want Mandy’s job!), but I would like to find some ways to get Mandy to keep things in perspective. Sometimes we need to move fast!

Do you have any suggestions on how to gently (or not so gently) remind Mandy that sometimes her time is costing us money?

Penny wise, pound foolish

Dear Penny,

Analyzers are great, aren’t they? They keep you on track and notice things you might overlook. As you said yourself, you wouldn’t want to do Mandy’s job. But, yes, sometimes Analyzers can get a little bogged down in the details. Here are a few suggestions:

Hope this helps!

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