Done. On Time.
These three words are all you need to focus on when you are completing a project. Sometimes you get caught up with the planning and delivery of the project. You think that it would be best if you got everything in order in able to do the work. All of the right people and equipment need to be available; people need to be motivated by the project. Also, everyone needs to spend the right amount of time on the project to get the perfect project.
Then you start, and people start to miss deadlines. And you need to chase them for everything. The work that they give you needs to be sent back – again. In the end, your project ends up as a pile of rubble. You deliver the project, but you are four months late. The product is good, but you are over budget. You wonder if what you have achieved is as robust as you wanted it to be. If you are getting as many complaints as you are positive comments, you definitively don’t know if this whole project was worth it. That is why you need to focus on the three little words, “Done on time.”
This means that you have defined what you are trying to accomplish. How your work will change the world? “Done,” also means that when you start, you know exactly what will count to see that you are successful. Will you count how many users you get? Will you count how many consecutive days the system is up? Will you calculate the amount of money that is made from a specific system? When you know what done is, everyone needs to agree that this is the change you are trying to make.
Counting the number of hours you worked on a project is a useless metric. It just says that you were working, it doesn’t mean that you made any change in the world.
On time means that you need to figure out when done is done. This needs to be a fixed time. It can’t be a changing time.
Once you know what done, and on time are, the rest of your project planning is easy. Should you add the new feature requested to your project? Will it benefit what you are trying to accomplish? Can you make it happen by the on-time date? If the answer is yes, then you need to figure out how to pay for it. (And that will be tomorrow’s blog.) If the answer is no, then don’t do it.
If you have a job that is done, and on-time, people won’t complain. If you know what you are measuring, and have done it when you said you would, people won’t complain. You have my word.