You Can Always Change Course

 

If you’re managing a project longer than a few weeks, you may realize that the project’s progress is not quite where you think it should be. It can seem impossible to change course. But choosing to continue what you’re doing is a choice. So you can choose to do something different.

I started thinking about this for two reasons. Frank’s entry, Cost of Project Delay started me thinking about projects I’ve met where the people were not increasing value and the PM didn’t change course. And, last weekend, I visited Masada, a triumph of Roman engineering (in Israel). It took Herod a few years to build the three (!) palaces on top of this mountain. Herod had a virtually unlimited number of slaves, and I’m sure he had a separate architect and project manager.

But I suspect that not everything went smoothly sometime during those few years of building. And, Herod’s PM probably didn’t have a drop-dead date. Well, I hope not, because it was probably literal back then. But when these folks ran into trouble, they changed course.

You can too. The key is to recognize when you need to change course. So gather some data (qualitative and quantitative). Ask yourself if you are headed in the direction in which you want to be headed — that you and your team are continuing to create value. If so, great. If not, change course.

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