Are we there yet?

Amazing Pyramid Geometry

Amazing Pyramid Geometry

“Rome wasn’t built in one day” my mother used to say. And neither were the pyramids, I’m sure. Or any other worthwhile project.

But how do you know it will be built at all? Or when it will be completed? How can you keep your enthusiasm, your motivation going while the going gets rough?

It is an important question for me, because I spent the last 3 months building a dwelling for myself. Oh the trauma of dealing with builders! I will be making regular contributions to this forum as soon as I recover from my emotional pain! But seriously, I learnt a heck of a lot about project management from doing this one small project, and I want to share that knowledge. I’ll break it down into small digestable bites.

To start my series I commented on my social media recently as follows:  “The year is 10% complete – have you achieved 10% of your goals already?” It was a loaded question and it drew a lot of responses! Basically I was fooling around with the idea that we have burned 36 days of the year already, and that if we continue along this line we will reach 360 days or 3600 days with the same result. Essentially:

    If you keep on doing
    what you have always done
    You will keep on getting
    what you’ve always gotten

So the real question is not how much time I’ve spent. In isolation, it is meaningless and not a good indicator of progress. The better question might be: What have I delivered already, against a list of what I should have delivered.

The best example of how “time” and “progress” relates comes from the comedian Jerry Seinfeld who said: You can measure distance by time. “How far away is it?” “Oh about 20 minutes.”

Now that gives a lot more useful information. And so does “Earned Value” when used in Project Management monitoring and control. Watch this space for some ideas on Earned value soon.

Comments are closed.