Start Wrong…and it never ends!

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Last week I was again painfully reminded of how important it is to start your project the right way. Last year we started a major ADF/JHeadstart project. And we started wrong.

My first mistake was to give in to customer pressure and do the planning quickly on a Tuesday morning. Of course, the sun was shining, I thought we owned the world and…I planned way too optimistic. This optimistic plan showed in our progress the first few weeks: the functional design was not complete when the team was ready and eager to build.

My second mistake....
was to start the build phase anyway, aiming to keep on completing the functional design “just-in-time”. As you can probably guess “just-in-time” changed into “just-too-late”.

Instead of coming clean and doing an overall replanning I again kept trying to make it work. That was my third mistake.

Several weeks ago I thought we were on top of things again. The project was running smoothly and predictably. Just the way I like it. And just the way our client likes it. We were issuing requests for change when work was out of scope and these were approved.

Until last week that is.

Last week our client called an extra project board. They were concerned about the number of scope changes and were wondering about the scope definitions. A very justified question and normally easily established. In this case however, our functional design was completed after the fact, so if it will help us is putting these questions to rest is still an unknown.

So. If you start your project wrong, it will continue to go wrong. Right up to the end. So don’t!

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