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System Requirements Analysis, 2nd Edition by Jeffrey O. Grady

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8.3.3 Margin Management

A margin is an amount allowed or available beyond what is necessary. We can apply this concept to the three fundamental program management parameters: cost, schedule, and product performance. In so doing, we inevitably make it more difficult to solve the system problem, so one might ask why we would want to make the manager’s job more difficult. The fact is that this technique makes the engineer’s job more difficult, but it makes management easier by providing slack that can be used to solve problems when they occur. Margins provide management space. By spending margin judiciously, a program manager can convert risks and problems into nonproblems. If margins are not available, the management space is often nonexistent, ...

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