Thursday, April 9, 2009

What is an End Date?

We all throw dates around like they have no real value. Open your project management tool, enter a task or bug, description, assign it to someone, set the start date and end date. How much consideration is put into the end date? How often to you actually reach the end date with the intended (big word) delivery? If anything we push the end date out as far as possible (especially if you’ve been around for more than a few days) – so far we often see our clients and managers get nose bleeds – to ensure that they can be achieved. It’s tough to admit, but I’ve gotten to a point where I treat end dates pretty badly, a commitment to an end date is like a commitment to the bar tender that this is my last beer…or close to the last one. If we don’t believe in end dates OR have faith that they are nothing more than the latest date people will accept OR know that 90% of the time they’ll move for 100 reasons we can come up with quickly in front of a board meeting THEN why do we think that ANYONE else will ever have real value in them? Pulling dates from the air is easy, living up to what we commit to is a bit more. As project managers we need to start realizing that the majority of the issues and negative feedback we face daily are ones that we cause and initiate ourselves…no wonder a recent report pointed to project managers as being one of the main sources of project failures – we’ve forgotten how to speak the truth and stand by the commitments we make OR ensure that ones we received are followed up on.

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