Posted by: Gilad Lev-Shamur | July 4, 2011

Projects funding – the playgrounds of the big boys

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“Always be nice to bankers. Always be nice to pension fund managers. Always be nice to the media. In that order.”

John Gotti.

It is one thing to manage the project planning and execution phases. It is another thing to achieve the funds that will eventually move the all process.

Specialization in the project management profession can take you to  higher levels in this field. You might get bigger projects to manage, get the most complicated tasks with the highest exposure and get yourself few promotions. But in order to jump and start play with the real sharks, be involved in the strategic planning process and gain additional control, you should master the funding process. Specially in a big organization.

Money talks!

Without the ability to achieve funds to your projects, you will not be able to move any initiative, or you will need to reduce your SOW, increase your projects duration, ignore quality issues and so on.

So how you become a master with the funding process in your company?

  • Find a mentor – No matter how many guidelines you will read, nothing compare to a good teacher in this field. There are too many politics, bureaucracy barriers and surprises.  A good mentor will prevent you doing catastrophic mistakes (which might cause to a delay in your funds approval or even project cancellation), will sharpen yours documents and presentations and is most necessary in your first steps in this field.
  • Understand the different  projects categories – Different projects have different funding processes and budgets. Knowing what to submit where, can achieve the necessary budget. Some projects have multiple funding options (for example, a system upgrade budget might also be achieved from energy conservation budget if you just present a positive ROI) or are part of specific strategic budget for example. Dig into details in this part.
  • Understand the timelines – Different processes have different time cycles. For some you need to do half-year preparations and for the others you just need to show you can spend the money ASAP.
  • Who approve what – You can prepare yourself by knowing who take the final decision. In some cases it might cause you to change the bucket you are targeting.
  • Do not work alone  – It is not a one man show. Get advice from your supporting groups (if you are working in a company with structured processes, you will probably forced to do that).
  • Do an alignment with your customers – If you are trying to get a budget for an internal customer project, do an alignment with him. Bring him to your approval sessions to back up you with the business justification.

“I only wish I had more time for fund raising”

Nido Qubein

Good luck!

Gilad

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