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11 April 2011

Good luck. I hope your project goes well.

You have a project that is, quite frankly, a monster.

It's technically out of control. And by that I mean one month you might be tracking to plan against our goals, another you may be ahead, and the following we may well be significantly behind.

The reasons for this are pretty typical, possibly even classical:  Poor sponsorship, lack of clear goals, oscillating and poorly articulated requirements, lack of stakeholder management, and so on and so forth. In fact it checks every box in the doomed project checklist.

So, what is a smart person like you doing here?  It’s a combination of the challenge and the opportunities to experiment.

One the challenge front, You are sure many of us know the feeling.  You know it’s an almost impossible task, but you just can’t resist it.  Your personal measures of success and achievement are not exclusively about schedule, budget and scope.  They are more about the difference between your attempt at this project and the client's previous attempts, and maybe about growth in organisational capabilities, what your team get done versus what is reasonable to expect in these circumstances etc.

As for opportunities to experiment; this is your opportunity t test yourself and your ideas over a sustained period of time.  Maybe it will go on for a few years. After all, it has been in progress in one form or another for about several years before you got there.

Step by step you get to implement the tools and processes you read about here at the blog, at other blogs, in books and on forums and you get to see what happens. It’s a great opportunity to trial a wide range of different techniques on the one project and see what happens with each change. On a blank canvas. Given the chaotic nature of the environment you'll probably also get to trial some more radical ideas of your own and see how they work.

So far you've have been working at it for a few months and have learned several new things, not to mention reinforced some of your prior beliefs about how people work and how projects should be run.

Good luck.  Be brave and courageous.  Treat the people well.  And have fun.

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