How to Give the Project Team Just Enough "Pressure"

In For a more productive team, put the pressure on (within reason), Chris Hoover recommends a little pressure to help the procrastinators un-procrastinate, and help people get their work done on time.

I only sort-of agree. Everyone has their own amount of pressure, and what’s good for you is not good for me. But working in timeboxes allows people to choose how much work to get done in a fixed amount of time. If you keep the timeboxes small enough (1 or 2 weeks), the timebox keeps everyone focused and keeps the gentle pressure on.

Smaller timeboxes help people estimate better, which makes their commitments believable–to them and to the rest of the project team. Few people encounter Student Syndrome when working in short timeboxes.

If you’re a project manager, don’t put any pressure on from the outside, as you putting pressure on the team. Get the team to agree on a short timebox, and let their own pressure help them focus and finish tasks.

One Reply to “How to Give the Project Team Just Enough "Pressure"”

  1. There is no better pressure than social pressure. The “Student Syndrome” happens because the student doesn’t feeling any shame because nobody notices he is late/lazy or nobody cares.

    So to overcome the student syndrome, a project must have a social structure that makes those “lazy bastards” visible. A daily standup-meeting may be a way to do it. If you have to explain every day why you didn’t do what you said you would do yesterday, then there is a certain amount of shame/exposure. This may be sufficient to keep most of the people focussed and active.

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