Getting ahead early matters
“Once a team finds itself ahead of schedule it will try to get even more ahead of schedule.” -Fergus O’Connell
Projects that are ahead of schedule are magical. Everyone has a relatively low level of stress and it is likely that you will consistently make it home for dinner on a nightly basis. Projects like this also have a great effect on morale, the people on these projects will instinctively want to push the envelope and get the project done even quicker. As project leaders, we need to do everything in our power to get our projects in this state as soon as possible and keep them there as long as we can. Easier said than done, I know.
“How does a project get to be a year behind schedule? One day at a time.” -Fred Brooks
On the other hand, a project that is behind schedule feels like massive credit card debt. It is constantly weighing on your mind, making it increasingly difficult to recover. When projects get in this state morale declines, stress increases, innovation screeches to a halt, and the schedule just keeps slipping and slipping.
Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet when it comes to running projects, nothing guarantees success. However, taking steps to structure your next project in such a way that it maximizes the chances of getting ahead of schedule early could pay huge dividends in the end.