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Death March Redux: Viva Las Vegas!

23 May 2010 No Comment


“Blow on that project plan, mamma. Baby needs a new pair of shoes! ”

How many times have we been locked in a conference room and told “We missed the last three dates, now what’s the REAL date gonna be?” The whole team gathered together to come up with another date. This next date is the NEW DATE. It’s got to be better than the OLD DATE, the date we missed. This NEW DATE is gonna be the ONE! It’s gotta be the one.

What does this sound like? The lottery, perhaps? Horseracing? (Insert addictive gambling habit here.) It certainly doesn’t sound rational. So why do we do it? Why do entire teams and companies do this? This approach assumes that we missed the last date because it was the wrong date. All we need to do is pick the right date this one time and Lady Luck will bring this project home.

Damn! Snake eyes. Maybe it’s time to step away from the table.

This isn’t an easy thing to do. Business demands will make other courses of action seem more attractive: Throw another contractor at the project. Let them bill overtime. Make the full-timers work weekends through the crunch. Make another commitment to upper management! This time it’s a SURE THING. Load up those chips! Double down! VIVA LAS VEGAS!

What, snake eyes AGAIN?

Put the dice down. Step away from the calendar. Tell the Boss that the team needs few days to rethink this. Here’s your ace in the hole: Change the conversation from “What is the delivery date?” to “What do we need to do differently to improve our chances of hitting our delivery dates in the future?”

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