photo by stress-relief, via flickr
in my experience, setting priorities doesn’t work.
why? for one simple reason: 98% of the time, the priority is set arbitrarily. “we need you to take care of this. karen says it’s urgent.” so should you stop what you’re doing and take care of what karen asked? it depends.
“is this task on the critical path?” â€” whether yes or no, this answer should be the primary metric for driving your efforts. often times a manager, or the client, or someone else who may not be involved in the finer aspects of a project will ask for you to do something that doesn’t reflect the core goals of the project. just because someone “wants” something doesn’t mean that it’s the right thing for them. the critical path is a map of current tasks and their interdependencies. if one task on the critical path slips, you’re now looking down the barrel of a loaded gun called schedule creep.
more after the jump.
photo by mike_lockie, flickr artist
it’s going to happen. Â no matter how much you plan ahead, or how much you think you might know â€” how comfortable you are in your abilities… you’re going to lose sight of your overall vision.
scope creep happens, and unfortunately it happens often. we all want to create amazing things, and we all want to deliver the very best we can to our clients. many times it’s the client who makes the changes! but either way, changes happen. instead of doing x, we do x and add on y because it makes x better in some way.
one of the most difficult things to do is telling ‘no’ to people who say, “you know what would be good?…” but there are times when it’s absolutely necessary. why? well no matter what you’re doing, you always have a main mission; every step you take along the way should be made to help you reach that end state. simply put, anything else is ancillary. so why do we always lose sight of where we’re going?! Continue reading
mythbusters ran a pirate episode once where they tried to see if you could escape from being burried to your neck in sand.Â as they found out, it’s impossible to escape from wet sand because as you move some sand away to clear space to move, more water and sand will fill up that space.Â it provides you with no wiggle room to free your limbs and your body from the sand.
perhaps the most important part of projectÂ managementÂ when creating schedules for work is the inclusion of wiggle room. Â there are issues that occur when working on projects — large or small. Â some of these issues are known, and some are unknown, and some are even known to be unknown in that you know the issue will occur, but not when or what impact it would have on the project. Â as much as we’d like to — the fact of the matter is that we cannot fully remove all risks and issues from a project. Â what we can do, however, is to study those risks and issues and minimize their effects. Â one of the best ways to do this is by scheduling wiggle room. Continue reading