Planning the delivery is always an exhilarating experience. While sitting down with a colleague for planning, several minutes passed where we discussed the approach. We were getting nowhere as these discussions were around general topics. Then we looked at the delivery dates and planned backwards. Smiles appeared on our lips for the first time after adopted this approach. We were converging and both of us wanted to plan the delivery based on the volume of work instead of a date taken out of the air. So, my colleague relaxed a bit and the initial skepticism vanished. He also shared an interesting tale about planning the delivery of a project that was on the rocks.
This project was also plagued with classic textbook mistakes and evils associated with any project going under. In order to recover, the manager had a realistic plan. But, the customer wanted an earlier delivery. Unfortunately, both parties could not agree. Hence the manager’s manager was brought in to make things happen. The manager’s manager had a very simple way of executing the project and delivering it on the expected timeline of the manager. The manager’s manager opened the project plan and looked at the various tasks. He narrowed on a critical task. The duration was 10 days. He called the developer in charge.
The manager’s manager asked, “Does this task take 10 days?”.
The developer froze and replied, “Yes”.
The manager’s manager continued, “But you can finish off by Friday. Right?”. Friday was less than 5 days away. The statement was a question. The command and challenge was hidden deep inside the innocent question.
On hearing this, the developer was shaken. He also bit his lips under the unwavering gaze of the manager’s manager. The manager’s manager was expecting an answer. As a result, the developed fumbled, “I.. can…try”.
Now, the manager’s manager turned to the manager and declared. “There, you have the commitment from the developer. You will get this piece by Friday. You can either change your plan or work on the downstream activities”.
My colleague did not narrate the rest of the story. The point was clear. This is another way of planning the delivery. However, I’m not sure what is the success rate in this approach.
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