Bob Hughes is an editor and co-author, who handles project management for IT projects in the telecommunications, energy and local government sectors. He is an academic at the University of Brighton where he gained a PhD in software measurement.
How, over time, do your bosses (and/or clients) rate you as a project leader? What influences that judgement? A big influence will be the regularity with which your team delivers on time. High quality software is great, but high quality software delivered when it is needed is much better. A history of late delivery will do you no good at all.
So, the next question is how do you make sure that your team completes on time? In the last two posts we looked at what we might rather sternly call project discipline, but perhaps the biggest cause of late delivery is getting the estimate of time and effort needed wrong in the first place. You can be a great project leader with a great team, but if the original estimate is wrong, you could be basically stuffed.
I have heard a project management guru argue that even if you do not understand a technical area, you can always tell when someone is lying about it. But when I was a programmer, it sometimes took me longer to do a task than I originally told my boss. I really believed my estimate was correct at the time. I was not deliberately lying. Continue reading →