I’ve written in the past (here, here, and here) that it’s important to understand that all decisions require a trade-off.

A corollary to that is that all resources are limited. Whether we’re talking about time, money, or people, any resource that is required to complete a project is, by definition, limited. And once you know the limits of your resources, you can begin to make intelligent decisions about how a project should proceed.

For example, I was working with a client recently on the implementation of their new AMS. During training there was a discussion about how to process membership renewals for a certain type of company within their membership. Ideally, the client wanted the process completely automated; that is, the member could go online and join or renew, and no staff intervention would be required. The process required, among other things, that the company be able to adjust their annual sales revenue numbers, in order to calculate the correct dues rates.

The vendor explained that this could be done, but that there would be fairly extensive costs involved for programming. After some discussion, the client agreed that while processing renewals manually would be time-consuming, the cost of programming was too high.

The fact is, resources were limited. Given an unlimited resource (in this case, money), my client would have happily paid for the programming.

All resources are limited. Understanding where your limits are will help you make smart decisions.