Wednesday, January 24, 2024

2024-01-24 Wednesday - Signs You Might Be On A Death March Project

[image credit: hgenthe on]


Today's meditation:

Signs you might be on a "Death March" project...

  • Scope increases by a multiple [n] (where [n] > 1, and [n] is quite often an integer), but time and resources stay the same.
  • The number of REQUIRED [r] productive hours that must be expended per day, to maintain the schedule, is greater than AVAILABLE hours [a]: where the number of MANDATORY [m] hours spent in meetings - is subtracted from the possible WORKING hours [w]...

Such that, [a] = [w] - [m], and [r] > [a], with [a] approaching zero, as TIME [t] progresses.


Other possible signs...

  • Management cancels all vacations through the end of the year.
  • Management mandates staff must work weekends.
  • Management states that working 4am-9pm is expected
  • When there are no more slots available between 8am-6pm - meetings begin to be scheduled at 7am, 6am, 5am, 4am...or 8pm, 9pm, 10pm, 11pm, ...
  • You find  yourself regularly working at 1am to complete status reports (2 days after they are due) - because that is the only time period you could find, where you had sufficient capacity to focus on that task... 
  • You don't have any time to perform QA on the work that is being performed.
  • The work products being produced are a [3] on a [1-10] scale - due to lack of sufficient time to do quality work.
  • Management refuses to accept the estimates provided by staff - and simply picks delivery dates. 
  • There is no time to do actual work - because staff are in meetings 90%+ of the time. 
  • There is no "Think Time"
  • There is no reserve capacity in the team to handle spikes in demand.
  • New work is continually being added - with no additional time, or resources, added. 
  • You spend more time in status meetings, than in working meetings. 
  • Requirements are constantly changing - with no additional time, or resources, added. 
  • The Gantt chart looks like a wall of logs stacked to the ceiling, with the finish dates all aligning on the right side - and everything is showing GREEN...until the last minute, and then suddenly goes RED.
  • Workload is projected to increase by 400%, and yet 75% of staff is to be eliminated.
  • You don't have time to eat breakfast.
  • You don't have time to eat lunch.
  • You don't have time for any exercise. 
  • You don't have time during working hours for bio breaks.
  • Frequently there is zero slack time between meetings - all day long. 
  • Management has purposefully understaffed the team - and expects the team will work nights and weekends (as a standard operating model) - to make-up for the capacity shortfall.

Saturday, January 13, 2024

2024-01-13 Saturday - Judging someone's readiness for something is a complex calculus

[image credit: moritz320 on

[companion LinkedIn post]

Today's meditation:
Judging someone's readiness for something is a complex calculus.

Are they open/receptive?

Have they done the work needed to see the value?

Does the arc of their wish to receive, intersect with the arc of their growth to execute?

When teaching, we use toy examples - to simplify the discussion, reduce the cognitive burden, limit concepts to manageable degrees of complexity.

By allowing the student the opportunity to experience success - we support developing their confidence.

With confidence, they can tackle more.

But, ...

Sometimes, their cup is already too full.

Sometimes, they have not yet reached the inflection / pivot point in their growth.

Sometimes, they still labor under misconceptions that hinder their ability to see the bigger picture.

Sometimes, they are unwilling to let go of their assumptions, their preconceptions.

Sometimes, the right approach, for the teacher - is to simply wait, listen, and observe.

Until the bonds that bind them to their current understanding begin to fray...

Sometimes, the inner journey required - is much harder than the external change desired.


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