Murder of crows
N.McCarthy POSTED ON 18 Feb 2014

Top 3 Killers for Projects at Crunch Time

There is nothing quite like the satisfaction of taking something from some arrows and boxes on a whiteboard to a live digital reality.


As the best thing about being a project manager is also the worst thing about being a project manager (responsibility) a collection of enduring patterns emerge that sometimes are outside of a client’s field of vision.


As a project manager, the role played is one of midwife – you are responsible for the delivery but it’s never your baby. It’s this comparative emotional detachment that allows you to give your client the best service.


With the next project always just around the corner, a quick countdown on three of the top project-killers that rear their head when timelines loom and budgets are locked:


[3] Fragmentation

Whether it’s feedback on a design concept or the outcomes of User Acceptance Testing, nothing can push out the timeline quite like fragmentation. Akin to death by a thousand cuts, fragmentation is the partial delivery of some required input. The temptation to “send what we have now, and send the rest when it’s ready" is ever-present but is often only the illusion of progress. An action is completed when it is completed – ‘partially completed’ is also known as ‘incomplete’ or ‘not done’.


In project delivery, points continue to be given for outcomes, but not for effort.


[2] Decision Not Ready

With the best will in the world there often remains a question (or questions) unanswered after all of the other unknowns have been addressed. If everything else has been answered and one item resists – then continuing to carry them on the project is a threat to the defined majority.


When a lone item remains defiant in the face of analysis then it’s something the project must do without.


Delivery is what is known and hope is not a strategy.


[1] Creativity

A controversial one – the very force that gave life to your project can also snatch it away. While creative thought drives the spark to light up requirements gathering, it can also burn the house down if that same spark is left unchecked during implementation.


Though creative thinking will furnish a project with some excellent requirements, continual idea revision – regardless of merit – will commit the project to a cycle of indefinite revision.


Of course there’s no harm in asking. Unless it’s during implementation.


Project delivery continues to be an ever-moving feast of changes and challenges. By characterising the challenges we continue to regularly encounter we can better hone our ‘early problem detection’ senses for the betterment of future projects to come.


I’ve just thought of something I should have mentioned earlier!


I should have thought of it when I was planning the structure of this article.


Introducing it now would mean a rewrite of the majority of what I’ve already written.


I’m four sentences from the end, almost finished, so introducing this will invalidate much of what I’ve already done and push out my completion time.


I’ll put it in the next article.


Look at that. A little parable.

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