Stop waiting for that mandate from heaven

Project Management

Project Management (Photo credit: Cappellmeister)

I tend to get myself involved in a lot of projects at work, most of them done by a small group or committee. One thing that drives me bonkers is when people spend more time talking about their plan for the project than implementing it. Don’t misunderstand me, I think planning is a critical part of the success of a project and design should always be considered up front. (Most people relegate design to an afterthought, but that’s a different rant for a different day.) I’m talking about those projects that you hear announced over and over again but they never seem to result in anything. After pondering it I decided this situation must arise from three possible causes:

  1. The planners are so enamored with their ideas that they continuously announce them in hopes that someone will pat them on the back and inform them of just how brilliant they are.
  2. The planners are unsure whether their ideas are the best approach to the project and are looking for someone to give them a nod of approval (that mandate from heaven) to go forward and pursue their plan.
  3. The planners think their idea is crap and instead of admitting it, they slyly ask for feedback (repeatedly) in the hopes that enough negative feedback will give them permission to can the project or take it in a new direction.

I admit that over various projects I’ve landed in each of these buckets, at least momentarily. However, I’m of the opinion that it’s better to actually implement your idea (even a rough version of it) and get feedback on that than to continuously ask for feedback on the plan itself. After all, at the planning stage it’s difficult for people to envision it’s actual implementation.

How many of you have worked on projects where too much time was spent talking and not enough doing?

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