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Law of a Traction

IceSlip It's winter in Iowa. (Please, keep the cheers to a dull roar.)

We've had a whopping ton of snow. We've had arctic blasts. We've had wind-blown drifts. And we've had ice.

It sort of turns walking and driving into a) a new Olympic event; or b) entertainment (provided you're not the one on the ice).

Sometimes it's hard to gain traction on the slick surfaces, no matter how much testosterone your SUV is channeling.

Are your projects maintaining their traction as well? There are a few articles about project starts and stops.

According to the Standish Group, starting and stopping a project multiple times is one of the factors which leads to failure. In RUP, stops and starts go hand-in-hand with multiple bug fixes. The Theory of Constraints blog links multi-tasking as a cause of project starts and stops. Gav Thorpe relates this phenomenon to the project of writing a book (boy, do I understand that one!).

But how does one get (and keep) project traction on the slippery, wintry surfaces of organizations?

  1. Leadership - the executives writing the checks need to ensure the resources stay dedicated and focused to the project at hand
  2. Prioritization - have criteria in place to determine when or if a project should be shelved and what constitutes "more important work"
  3. Communication - ensure all stakeholders know when and why a project or task has been stopped and why... and when/if it will be restarted
  4. Opportunity Cost - understand what the stops and starts are costing the organization in terms of ramping up, learning curves, politics, et cetera

If you can keep your projects moving over the ice of competing demands, then you should maintain your traction through completion.

Carpe Factum!

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