PM Commentary by Stacy Goff, ProjectExperts CEO.
We have long asserted that “doing the right things” in the first 10% of any project is 90% responsible for project success. There are over 250 unpublished “Goff’s Laws,” that provide insights on key parts of this first 10%, and beyond. Those insights include:
“1. You can get away with anything, on the first day of your project.”
The dialogue around this law (really just a common-sense observation) assures that you can move any deadline, ask for any budget, obtain unobtainable talent, or anything you need, if you identify that need on the first day of the project–especially if you have not yet said, “Yes! I will do this project!”
There is a corollary to the above Goff’s Law, that can be of some comfort to those who are assigned somewhat later in the project:
“1a. You can get away with almost anything, on the first day you are on the project.”
Of course, the next 10-15% of the project is important, too, because that is where most project teams establish great business requirements. There is another Goff’s Law about this; this one has been borrowed from other, more-experienced folks:
“12. You will spend 25% of total project effort getting good business requirements. Competent project teams spend most of that 25% in the first part of the project.”
But when is this first part of a project? What is it, that great project teams should assure that they do, during this first part, to assure project success? And, why are these important actions and key results so often skipped? We will begin to touch on these questions in this multi-part (it will require several sections, over time) Change Agent posting.
When Does a Project Begin?
We have discussed this dilemma for years. Different people have different opinions, and the answer you select has significant bearing on what should be present. For example, in Construction, or in most bidding projects (everything from a Defense initiative to an IT subcontract), for the Seller, the project essentially begins with a bid award sometime during the Buyer’s Design phase or stage. We’ll skirt that issue by focusing on an internal-to-your-organization project. To see our perspective, see the scenario we posted over a year ago. Go to When Does A Project Begin? and review that posting. Then, return here.