Anyone responsible for a project, program, product or business unit has probably encountered the dreaded schedule slip from one review to the next. At last month’s review it was a one-month slip and at this month’s review it is another three-month slip. Keep your hat on and don’t lose your cool! Your team is probably just as frustrated, seemingly stuck in mud. You need the team to be predictable!
If you are not satisfied with the answers, ask the team to identify functional areas with following rule-of-thumb characteristics:
- Late-breaking requirements changes past the design freeze could manifest as tasks being added or modified frequently.
- Under-resourced functional areas could be the problem. While the number of tasks are relatively constant, tasks are not getting completed.
- Task definitions are not well understood by task owners.
- Task duration and resource estimation are poor.
- External dependencies for many tasks are impacting forward progress.
Chances are high that it is probably one or more of the above factors that are convoluted together, and you may be able root cause the issues. Only then can possible solutions be formulated by the team with your help. If none of the above task completion symptoms is obvious, then a more in-depth qualitative investigation of the team organization, environment and leadership is warranted.
Finding the answers and institutionalizing positive changes will yield a more predictable path to project completion on this go-round. Plus, continuous improvement of predictable development cycles will result in time-to-market reduction. Last but not least, remember that it is a lot more efficient to institutionalize predictability in your development team’s execution than for the team to perform heroics and deliver less dependable outcomes. Predictable product development schedules will always yield higher profits over the long run.
Originally published on LinkedIn by Azmat Khan, Dec 16, 2018