Black Holes

Black holes are all around your projects. 

Black holes are those things that suck you into their gravitational field and don’t let you go in the direction that you are trying to go. In your projects, black holes can come in many forms. It can be:

  • A team that doesn’t have time to test or review the product that you have delivered, but wants to you keep your resources open so that you can respond as soon as they are ready. 
  • Scope creep that occurs after the first working version of the product is delivered. (Scope change is an acceptable phenomenon. But it must have a formal change request, and corresponding and planned resource and schedule increases.)
  • A person in a working group who has an agenda to forward, an axe to grind, or just talks too much. (Truth check: Is that person you?)
  • A poorly designed structure of rewards and performance incentives that cause employees to seek to succeed in ways that are counter-productive to your mission. 

Black holes will suck your time, energy, money, and ability to deliver your project successfully. There are three ways to deal with them:

  1. Avoid them. See the black hole from a distance and don’t allow yourself to get anywhere near. 
  2. Go right through them (or slingshot around them.) Find ways to use the weaknesses to your advantage. (For example use scope creep as a chance to get additional resources for infrastructure that isn’t funded in any other way.)
  3. Destroy them. Sometimes you just have to blow up a black hole. Change your compensation structure. Remove the person who chooses the demoralize others. Don’t energy-suckers exist if you can help it. 

Black holes exist. You must acknowledge and deal with them.