First, he learned that the project schedule is your friend. The more detailed the project schedule is, the more it will help in keeping you on track. A good schedule also provides early warning for a project going off-track, which is very hard to fix late in the project lifecycle.
Secondly, don’t think that you can escape the project triangle (time, cost, scope), even if you’re an executive. Even if what you want to add to the project’s scope should have been there to start with, you’re still going to affect the outcome and timeframe of that project. The lesson here is to adopt a change management process that everyone follows.
The final lesson is that project heroics only lead to project failure.
In that same troubled project, the team had hired an external consultant as the lead developer. The developer had a lot of control over the project executive since he was producing the actual product for the project. The executive had confidence in the developer, yet the lead developer spent all day in meetings gathering requirements and little time developing during the day. He would spend another eight hours working until 2 a.m. writing code and repeated this cycle day after day. He wouldn't share the code base with the internal IT staff. During our daily checkpoints, he insisted his code would be ready by the launch date if people would “just leave him alone so he could work.” No working code was ever delivered.
There are all sorts of factors that can plague a project that are outside of …
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