2008-02-10

Project Freakout

No, it’s not the latest group backing George Clinton. It’s the phase of a project where “stuff” is on paper. That “stuff” may or may not be 100-percent accurate, and the project is moving forward. It’s the phase where someone freaks out about what’s expected. Sometimes, it’s right before the go-live. Sometimes, it’s during the estimate phase. Sometimes, it’s a major milestone in the middle. And it’s a near-inevitablity in any project.

Although, it’s rarely in the middle, unless the freakout candidate is a PM. The middle of any project, even one with well-defined milestones, is that beautiful period between the lie and the time the lie is discovered. Everything can still be accomplished in the remaining weeks. People can always wait until “later” to review “low-level details.” Managers & sponsors are easy to appease, because “we might be running a little behind,” but we haven’t started making withdrawls from our schedule fluffing. It’s the point where, sure, we can afford to re-engineer that interface. After all, we want it done “right” or “not at all,” don’t we?

I’m not being glib. I’m just being observant. I’ve been the freakout person in the past. I see it all the time. I just thought it would be a good time to share.

I shared this with a former manager who said “isn’t another phrase for that ‘the point at which something hits the fan?’” I told him we had to reserve that phrase for what happens during implementation. That’s another topic altogether.

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