25 MARCH 2017
written by Mike
BIG PROJECT SURVIVAL
PHASE III “THE LAST RALLY”
The light at the end of the tunnel! The end is near, only a few more days to go.
It’s not over yet, far from it. In the last part of the guide, you will learn how to push through the final barrier. You are almost there; it’s too late to give up now.
Be ready for the last minute change.
It feels like the end is near. Only a few more days and it will be over. The project life cycle is completing. A word of advice. Do not lower your guard.
Last minute changes will come.
The last project was a perfect example of that. The director and clients were tinkering with the product till the very last minute.
“Small changes” weren’t that small and it affected all of us. The funny thing is, deadlines stayed the same. In a situation like this, you can cry and complain all you want. Or you can get on with it. And that is what we did.
You will need the last drop of your strength. These last moments will be the hardest. “The temptation to quit will be greatest just before you are about to succeed.”
After the primary grind, people will relax. Watch for silly mistakes.
There is another problem with last minute changes. Because you and your teammates thought it was over, you started to relax. Even couple of days can cause you to lose focus. And it is going to be hard to regain it.
And with a lack of focus, mistakes happen. And not the big ones. Not the ones that we made before. When we justified them with chaos and disorganisation. Silly blunders, we make them because we started to sit back. To unwind.
Be cautious in these last moments. It’s not over yet.
If you know that something will be late, say in advance!
We set deadlines, and we all work towards them. At the end of the project life cycle, you will deal with deliverables.
When I make my schedules I take the final date minus one day. I set my target date early, so I have one day spare in case something happens. I have to say it does work great. But mix a massive project, tight schedule, last minute changes together and you are heading towards a steep hill.
Every morning I would update my fellow workers on the state of deliverables.
Since other vendors were waiting for us, it was crucial to let them know if something was going to be late. That is why if you feel that you may miss your deadline, even by a few hours, let other people know.
They can prepare and adjust, and if you deliver on time, you will look good!
After the deadline, have a debrief.
When the dust settles, it is important to sit down and review.
What went wrong?
How can we improve for the next project?
Was this project life cycle too short?
Having this conversation is healthy. But don’t spend too much time on complaining and critique. It is over now. Address the issues, but don’t forget to praise. You and the team worked very hard in the last few weeks.
It should be acknowledged.
And the last (and most important) point, celebrate!
Go for lunch, organise a night out. You all need a couple of days to relax and have fun. The next project is coming, but, for a brief moment, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you have done an excellent job, and it was because of your team.
In few years you won’t remember the long hours, never ending changes and deadline dates.
But you will remember the people that surrounded you.
And there is no better way to make memories than a celebration over good food!
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