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Topics: Cost Management, Scope Management, Stakeholder Management
How to handle a situation when a project runs out of hours and exceeds budget?
Anonymous
I'm currently in a project where it exceeded the hours and budgeted amount and there is still lots of work need to be done. Stakeholder is not happy about it. What is the best way to deal with this situation and resolve it?
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This depends on a number of factors including:

1. Nature of the contract - e.g. firm fixed price vs. time & materials
2. Whether the work to be done is in scope or out of scope
3. What sort of longer term relationship your company wishes to enjoy with this stakeholder

Kiron
Kiron is fully right, it depends.

You may consider to get outside help to analyse the situation and setup options to continue (or not) and present them to the sponsor for decision and even re-start the project (the team may need to feel a change in leadership).

Not sure if your delays and overrun are significant. I have seen many projects in that situation. My own experience is that such a project in the end costs about 3-4 times the original estimate.

There is a nice saying: the project is done 90% for 90% of the duration.

Your reaction will determine your future career.
Call a governance meeting to discuss the status of the project and obtain a direction on how to move forward. Ensure you invite your sponsor and key stakeholders to it. Prepare your presentation with options to have a healthy productive discussion and obtain the decision/direction. Much better then just stating the problem and ask for more money.
State the problem/descripe the issue:
Forecast the cost needed to finish the project and new timelines to identify additional cost and time required. Briefly describe the reasons for the overrun.
Then lay out options:
Option 1: continue full scope/as is - cost/time, pros and cons/risks.
Option 2: crush/fastrack, reduce quality or build a short term solution/incur tech debt if in technology. Cost/time, pros and cons
Option 3: reduction in scope, defer the scope/cancel - cost, time, pros and cons.

Make this meeting about decision and focus on options, rather than stating that you don't have money/resources.
If you are on a vendor side, it might be a bit difficult. But clear forecast and solid detailed schedule/project plan will be a big help in having this discussion.

This is just general guidance based on a general description of your problem statement.
My concern is that this is only coming to light now. You write that the budget and duration have been exceeded with the scope incomplete. This should have been identified and addressed at 25%, at 50%, etc when there was still time to mitigate.

I have a rule-of-thumb - "the project success or failure is set once you reach 15 to 20% earned value. If off-track - fix it""

At your stage there are only two options: 1) find money and time, or 2) bail

If you choose to build an argument for option 1) recognize that the you have already shown that your initial plans have been inadequate and whatever you come up with will have limited credibility - especially if you propose the de-water the lake using a two inch pump.

Short of detail, my approach to recovery would be a temporary shut down of ALL project activity to allow development of a new plan and clean re-start including resource assignment, scope definition, budget and schedule.

As a prime stakeholder I would be upset for a couple reasons: 1) failure to delver, and 2) failure to monitor and advise. I would insist on a totally new team.

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