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The Play (Project) Isn’t Over

October 23rd, 2017 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips

The most important decision about a project may be when we say, “It is over.”

Watching college (semi- or mostly-professional) football this weekend. Several times today I see a 19 to 21-year old score a touchdown and in great glee make enough of the wrong motions to be flagged for excessive celebration or taunting or just plain getting on the referee’s nerves. This brings a major penalty “on the ensuing kickoff” as the referee explains in his personal microphone. Then I see a similar thing the next day with fully professional football players celebrating excessively and being penalized.

Perhaps coaches should teach players something different about a touchdown play. The play isn’t over when you enter the end zone and the whistle blows. The play isn’t over until you gently hand the ball to the referee and, without any untoward motions, you run full speed to me and I discharge you to sit on the bench. Then, and only then, is the play over.

Let’s move from plays to projects. A development project over when…

  • the system passes final testing
  • the system passes user acceptance testing
  • the system is installed at the user’s facility
  • we hand the user the admin password
  • all our people return from their at-long-last vacation
  • the user signs the contract for the next project
  • all our people start working on the next project
  • I retire and live out my days in a rocking chair on the porch
  • never

How we declare “It is over” makes a great difference in what we do, when we do it, and how we do it. It is best to explain this ending to everyone at the beginning.

Tags: Clarity · Decide · Management

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