Michael Wilson is a new production manager. After a great deal of effort, including considerable market research, he completes his budget and submits it to his boss, Susan Jones. Without even looking at it, she asks him what his “fudge factor” was and which items contained the most slack.
Michael, very surprised, responds that he does not use any “fudge factor” and that all his figures are honest. Ms. Jones counters by asking him how he would respond if he had to cut about 20% from his budget as it is. She tells him that most budgets are trimmed in committee and he had better be ready. She returns the budget to him and tells him to come back with something reasonable.