Projects Are Like Toddlers

I now have a weekly time scheduled for re-planning current projects. When you hear the idea stated that way, it doesn’t make much sense. Wouldn’t current projects already be planned? Yes, but they will always need more strategic love.

If you’re not constantly evaluating a project, it will fall on its face, like a toddler learning to walk. The toddler will get hurt and something will be permanently damaged. And this has nothing to do with how competent your team is or how competent the people you work with are. You can work with some of the best people in the world–like I do–and projects will still fail along the way. Projects are still growing up, constantly, until they ship.

The goal is to put safety measures in place–as many as possible to prevent fatal errors.

Like real babies, no one loves your project as much as you do. No one cares about your baby’s cute looks like you do or how much it’s struggling.

Other people are also unlikely to babysit for you. So get over it now: don’t be upset when other people drop the ball on your project. They’re not the parent. They’re not even the babysitter. They’re the neighbor you asked to watch the kid for an hour. And who can blame them? Like the neighbor, they have other obligations. Again, you can work with some of the best in the world, and it will still happen, because the best in the world are always busy for good reasons on other great projects. You love it, they don’t. So love it and then sell them (as much as possible) on why they should love it too.

There is no perfect plan. There are always unknowns. You can try to plan for the unknowns and the unknowns will sneak up on you anyway. And that presents the second project strategy goal: prevent calling 911. And then, you pray and work hard.

How do you raise your project babies–any tips?

(P.S. I’m not a father of a real baby, but I convince myself that Milton the dog counts.)

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