In an article in the December 2010 issue of PDMA’s Visions magazine, Preston Smith and I talk about how preparing for change helps project leaders avoid costly 11-th hour crises.
The mantra “do it right or do it over” encourages developers to eliminate changes with thorough planning. But in dynamic innovative markets, relying on upfront planning to eliminate mid-project changes often leads to 11th-hour project crises. When customers change their minds or innovation works out differently than you thought, you’re stuck with the dilemma to do it wrong or do it over. You either stick to the plan and launch a product that misses the market or change the plan and suffer costly rework and schedule delay.
Even with the best of plans, mid-project learning may be unavoidable. Instead of trying to eliminate change, Flexible Product Development seeks to reduce the cost of change by preparing for it. You eliminate the dilemma because changes incur little rework or schedule delay.
Do you deal frequently with the do-it-wrong-or-do-it-over dilemma? Look carefully–the symptoms may not show up as mid-project changes. Project managers in plan-driven organizations may refuse to make a worthy change, but the impact only shows up later in a disappointing market launch.
For more information:
Preston G. Smith and John S. Farnbach, “Avoid costly 11th-hour project dilemmas by preparing for change,” Visions XXIV No. 4 (December, 2010): 24-27. (Available on my web site here.)