2 February 2010

Getting to Done - but apparently there is no such thing

You thought I'd forgotten how to blog. Well I've just been in holiday mode and then preoccupied mode and then slap bang back at work in a heap of projects mode. Blogging took a little holiday.

I'm working on a number of simultaneous projects at present and the management of those projects is my focus. So, I've been looking for some RSS feeds on project management and weeding out a few library feeds.

One of the key messages I've been seeing in project management blogs is about "Getting to Done". Glen Alleman (Herding Cats The 3 elements of project management) outlines 5 critical questions for project managers.

  1. Can we state clearly and concisely what "done" looks like? Can we state the intermediate versions of "done?" Can we state this in some units of measure meaningful to all the stakeholders?
  2. Do we know what it will cost to get to "done" or any smaller version of "done" along the way? This cost is usually measured in money. But people and other resources are part of the answer as well.
  3. Do we know the date of when we'll see "done" or any part of "done?" What the variance on this date? If we don't know the date of the final "done," how about a "date for the date?"
  4. Do we know we will measure progress along the way? How will we have confidence that progress is actually being made? What are the unit of measure for this progress?
  5. Can we see what is going to impede our progress toward "done?" Do we have any way to remove these impediments so we can get to "done?"

That all sounds reasonable to me, but then I read Paula Thornton (FastForward Blog - There's only now) post and find that "The greatest reality that the 2.0 era has embraced is that there’s no such thing as ‘done’. The only ‘done’ in life is ‘dead’ (and that’s just a phase/state transition)."

Image by khairilfz reproduced under a Creative Commons licence.