Many project managers (and senior management) still have the mindset of “How much can we fit into this project?” instead of “How little can we do?”
How-much thinking carries these assumptions (even if your managers don’t agree):
- People are a scarce resource, and that we should put all of them to use immediately, working like mad on the project.
- Schedule really doesn’t matter.
- Cost of development is not a driving factor
How-little thinking carries these assumptions:
- Understanding the requirements is a scarce resource, and we should focus our energies towards delivering something that shows we understand the specific requirement and the value it has to our customer.
- Schedule is critical and we don’t have time to do it again, or build technical debt
- Project cost is important, and we need to manage it
What I find fascinating is that many managers say that the characteristics of how-little thinking are important, but they manage according to how-much. The next time you or your management asks how much, maybe you can ask how little. If nothing else, you can help clarify everyone’s assumptions.