Tuesday, June 19, 2007

10 Ways Not To Complete A Project

  1. Have a vague goal.
  2. Assemble an inept team.

  3. Don't review ways in which similar projects have been completed.

  4. Avoid setting interim deadlines.

  5. Don't consider the supplies or staff that will be required until the actual need arises.

  6. Be a perfectionist and let your quest for the best defeat your ability to produce the good..

  7. Delegate to others and then fail to follow up until the final deadline is looming.

  8. Permit distractions.

  9. Spend large portions of time on the optional instead of the essential.

  10. Rely on inspiration instead of experience.


gerdtarand said...

Yes. Of course abiding by this list you will sink most projects. But avoiding this list is a sure thing to complete a project? Well, may be (Taken that your original idea is actually worth something). But what kind of project will it be? - most likely a mediocre one. Boring, unimpressing and "let's not talk about that but look at what the competition amazed us with" kind of a project.

If your only goal is to survive, then yes this is probably enough for you. But if you want to grow, impress, be talked about and get more projects then this is also a great way to self destruct.

For a mediocre project you need to (another ten point list if I may):

1) Set a clearly defined goal and make sure someone has already achieved that before. Don't leave room for changes and re-evaluation.
2) Assemble a team that is capable and experienced but is not able to innovate.
3) Copy similar projects that have been completed and most proably forgotten before.
4) Instead of generating new ideas focus on interim deadlines and make sure you pressure your team to follow them to the minute.
5) Fix the available resources and leave no room for change or refocusing.
6) Use the "good and proven to work" ideas and forget about the risky ones.
7) Delegate but do not allow your team to work in peace.
8) Be the distraction.
9) Focus on the essential (because this is easy and matters the most, huh?).
10) Don't take risks. Rely on experience.

Sounds pretty much familiar?

If your survival doeas not depend on the survival of your project then why not try this instead. It doeas not guarantee success - but it may.

1) Set a vague goal - to be EXTRAordinary, even if it means achieving something sligthy different than your original idea
2) Assemble a team where experience doeas not kill inspiration and innovation. You might even try a team that has never done anything similar but has proven itself to be talented and visionary.
3) Ignore all previous similar projects.
4) Leave your team time to generate ideas, debate them and predict if those ideas will sell. Do not destract them with dead-set deadlines. If you have the time, why not try no deadlines at all.
5) Tell the team that they can have anything they need - within reason - as long as they come up with something new and outrageous. Make sure you are able to live up to this.
6) Kill any idea that you can relate the statement "it worked for them" to.
7) If you delegate then delegate to people that are up to the challenge of being extraordinary and do not bother them by constantly asking "are we there yet?".
8) Allow distractions that have the possibility of bringing in new perspectives - even of they seem unrelated to the project
9) Focus on the optional! Everyone can do the essential.
10) TAKE RISKS! to get attention

Yes, most of us will never have the possibility or will to do this - but that's why the ones thad do win and others lose. Then however - most projects deserve to fail anyway.

Mediocrity kills!

And yes, of course there are three ways this might end up for you:

1) You fail and must continue as a mediocre enterprise or find something else to shine at.
2) You succeed and get the results, money and attention you need. More important - you get people taking about and to you - more challenging projects, huh!?
3) You still come up with a mediocre project - but this is pretty much the same as the first option - is it not?

...no doubt most projects will achieve the first or the last option, but then again - setting goals and doing the right thing for yourself is a completely different topic.

Evil HR Lady said...

I have a strong urge to put this list up in my office. I think I'd get in trouble, though.

Michael Wade said...


Thanks for your thoughtful comments. I certainly wouldn't want to imply that doing the opposite of a questionable approach is automatically a wise move. All virtues, if carried too far, can become problems.

Evil HR Lady,

I love your blog (and wit) and am honored that you dropped by.