You are excited. A newly minted project manager, you have just received your first assignment: develop the new version of your company’s external web site. You have great ideas, a great team, and you are ready to go. “Oh,” says your manager, “before you get started you need to check with VP Jane Doe on her expectations.” No problem you think. “Under no circumstances can you start before she gives you her blessing. Your job could be on the line if you ignore this.” Oops!
You promptly request a meeting with the VP through her secretary. “She’s very busy” the secretary says. “She’s leaving for Europe today and won’t be back for two weeks. And, no, she’ll be busy after hours so she won’t be able to meet with you on the phone to discuss this effort.” Rats! “Well,” you say, “can we set up some time for when she’s back?” “Sure, how about April 1st?” is the response. With concerns about April’s Fools Day you accept that date.
OK, in the meantime you can do some planning, figure out the other stakeholders; make sure that the developers have the training for that new tool they’ve wanted to use.
March 30th you get an email: “sorry, but VP Doe won’t be available tomorrow. Can you make it in two weeks; say on the 14th at 2 PM?”
You know where this is going. You’ll never be able to get this project started. This can me one of many things that I call project decelerators. This one I call “lack of stakeholder support.” Here are a few others we’ll be talking about this week and potential alternatives.
Scope clarity – this is before any requirements are gathered. Getting agreement as to whether we are building a bread box or a big box store can take time.
Planning clarity – how are we going to build this thing? Is the plan complete enough? Do we know who is doing what for whom when?
Resource availability – getting the necessary resources on board can be a challenge. How do you secure these resources? How do you compensate when you don’t get them?
Execution clarity – where are we in the plan? What’s late? What’s the impact? How do we recover? Just because some things are late, does that mean the project is late?
Quality clarity – are we building a luxury solution or a bare bones one? Are we doing extensive testing? Extensive documentation?
There are many more. We’ll discuss some of these and how to overcome them. Post a comment about your favorite project decelerators.