Myth #2: Putting Everything Into The Project Now Is Our Only Chance For Success – Part #3 (Lesson 7)
Knowing when ‘enough is enough’
Voltaire effectively said, ‘Perfect is the enemy of good.’ In other words, you strive for perfection at your peril.
Like some will-o’-the-wisp leading your project into the perilous marsh, the search for perfection will keep you on a never-ending journey. It is a futile search for something that you will never find – one that ultimately prevents you from achieving anything good.
In the case of projects, you need to know what a ‘good’ outcome is. I suggest that it involves delivering a solution that:
- Supports the key operational needs of the business from Day #1.
- Provides a stable, scalable platform that can rapidly evolve with the changing needs of the business.
A ‘perfect’ system will never, ever happen. The more perfect you try to make it, the bigger your failure is likely to be.
Understanding when you have enough is the key
- When do you have enough requirements?
- When are your requirements specified in enough detail?
- When do you have enough detail to proceed to the next step?
- When have you done enough design?
- When have you done enough testing?
The answers to these questions will depend upon the type of project that you are doing, and the approach you choose to achieve the desired outcomes. It is in our nature to please, and to seek approval. We want things to be right, to be complete, to be whole, and to be final.
Instinctively, the natural behaviour of the project team will be to try to please the sponsor, the stakeholders, the client, the team, and themselves by doing a complete and thorough job.
That is fair enough. The trouble is that they do not have a proper definition of what ‘job done’ looks like.
And what is worse, each person’s idea of ‘job done’ may be different.
Answer just one question before you start your project
I believe that the single most critical question to answer before embarking on ANY project is this:
What is the absolute minimum scope that we can possibly deliver for this project to be considered a success by the project sponsor and the key stakeholders, including our customers?