Information Technology Dark Side

Struggles of a Self-Taught Coder

Information Technology Dark Side header image 2

Project Milestones Should Be Important Enough to Justify a Celebration

September 13th, 2007 · No Comments

Milestone DiamondNobody throws parties when project teams finish requirements documents. Or design documents. In fact, there is something incredibly anti-climactic about completing these deliverables when they are also set up as milestones in a phase-based development project. Nothing is as earth-shatteringly exciting as delivering a finished requirements document to a business partner in an IT project. Except maybe watching a snail crawl across the sidewalk, or if you’re not into fast-paced action like watching snails you could watch an IT infrastructure group try to justify a new server.

I’ve never been to a review of a document like this where there weren’t yawns. I’ve seen people fall asleep in these meetings. And I’m not talking about slugs or losers either – good, motivated, engaged people who are so bored with a deliverable they can’t keep their eyes open. That’s lame. Deliverables like this, if you have to make them, should never be milestones. They are way too boring for that.

The delivery of requirements, design, analysis, other interim deliverables that aren’t working software, should NEVER be looked at as milestones. The completion of a milestone should convey a sense of accomplishment. It should come with the feeling that something of intrinsic value has been delivered, not just an interim deliverable that only has value in the context of the project’s process. In other words, a deliverable should be worth money, outside of the context of the project. It should be valuable to the business sponsor, something that gets them closer to their goal (not IT’s) even if the rest of the project were canceled tomorrow.

In other words, it should be something worth partying for. It should be something that makes our business partners WANT to celebrate, to bust out the cookies, T-shirts, and general swag. It should make them happy, dang it. Not sleepy.

Milestones should mean something to our business partners. If they don’t, if our business partners are bored by the deliverables a milestone represents, we should restructure our projects. Don’t make up artificial milestones just to convey a sense of accomplishment – make your milestones items that represent real business value.

Deliver good stuff. Then throw a party, or let your business partners throw you one.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!
Stumble it!

Tags: Project Management · Uncategorized

0 responses so far ↓

  • There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment