Archive for June, 2011


You may have been into this situation.  You have a high profile project with an aggressive schedule.  Typically, your project would only be composed of IT elements.  This one involves building a computer room for the IT infrastructure components of the program.  You go and ask every member of the project team and everyone commits to a certain schedule.

Here comes your construction guys.  You would think construction folks, being the origin of project management, would be more mature in their approach to these types of projects.  Here goes the problem.  You asked a senior manager about the commitment on when the construction project will be done and they will give you a certain time line.  You receive additional info from other sources that the previous info given to you by the construction folks is not realistic.  Of course, your first instinct is to go back to the owner of that commitment and verify your info.

You are receive a strong statement saying that the previous info is not correct and what he gave is the truth and that there are no sources of delay.  Ten days before the targeted completion, you receive a note that the construction work is facing risks and that it will not meet the committed completion goal.  Then you will hear that they will try their best to meet the earlier commitment.

Lessons learned.  A statement that says we will try to meet that deadline is a red flag and they are really telling you they will not make it.  However, they will continue not to admit that there is a problem and that a solution is needed.  You waste days trying to speak with the people to a point now that you have to raise the problem to higher authorities.

I believe there is nothing wrong to say that the schedule is too aggressive.  If we continue to just nod our heads in front of executive leadership and later not deliver is worse than telling them that their goal is unachievable given the time line given.  This kind of a mindset puts a project severely at risk.  However, the another side of this problem is that these type of people gets away with it all the time making them feel that they are not accountable.  In this case, I believe that project will have to reset expectation to its stakeholders.  Crashing the project is not even going to help since the number of people required to complete the work cannot be accommodate in the available space.