Software projects are notorious for going over time and over budget. Why? Sneakily undermining our success, thrashing can be the Ultimate Project Killer.
What’s thrashing? Thrashing is changing things on a project… and timing is everything. Done early, thrashing helps you get to the best possible final product. But if it’s too late in the game, you will see costs and timelines skyrocket at the expense of your ability to get things done.
Thrash Your Heart Out – Early On
Early in a technology development or implementation project, new ideas, feedback, and criticism are wonderful. Get it all on the table – must-have features, nice-to-haves, edits to the project scope, different stakeholders to consult, etc.
Changes early in a project are expected, and very much needed. But all too often, changes are held back until the very end, when it’s much more expensive and difficult to change course.
Thrashing in Action
I’m not quite sure who came up with the term thrashing, but I learned the phrase from Seth Godin. His description hit home with me right away. Does this sound familiar?
Our Job is To Finish Projects, Not to Start Them
As the end of a project draws near, there may be s a little voice in our heads that says, “this might not work” or “what about _______.”
Then thrashing ensues. This is self-sabotage, sometimes dressed up as an innocuous desire to improve.
But our success as professionals is measured by what we finish – not by the ideas we had that never made it to fruition.
The discipline then, is to commit to ship, ship, and ship again. Finish one project, then start another. You can always take something and make it better – but don’t do it at the expense of finishing the task at hand.