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Monday, August 29, 2005

Project Pushback

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This post is unrelated to The Project Management Podcast. It's about my "real" job and I want to get it off my chest.

I have been asked to lead a new project at work. A small software development project of about 3-4 months of duration. Nothing big. You know how it goes at the beginning of a project, right? The scope is fuzzy and the schedule is firm, i.e. deliver "something" and deliver it tomorrow. During the initiation of a project, my approach is to ask lots of questions and to expand the breadth of my reasearch indefinitely. I talk to anyone and everyone about this effort, trying to see how it fits into the grand scheme of things and find similar intiatives that may be combined. And while doing this, I was astonished at the pushback I got from my customer towards this approach. I felt almost as if I was doing them a disservice by being dilligent. Hmmm... there must be something more behind this.

It might be a real business need like "We really, really, really need to have this implemented ASAP because our business hurts if we don't have it." Or it might be political, trying to stop me from uncovering"something unpleasant" for the customer. I am not quite sure at this point which it might be. However, it puzzles me simply because this is the first time in my career when a customer was annoyed at my attempt to deliver grander and better solution than what they had asked for.

I wonder what the customer's reaction will be when he finds out that there are plans in the making for completely replacing the tool which he wants to have updated... tomorrow will be a fun day.