As I turned the corner on 40 last year I realized that I needed to change my workouts to become more cardio-based. I started running, which I never really did much of in the past. I am learning that running is not about going as fast as I can nor waiting until the end to sprint; it is all about pacing myself. I believe this to be the case on our projects and programs. I have seen many different cases where projects didn’t pace themselves well…
- Started off too strong and then the team got burnt out
- Started off too slow and never ‘caught up’
- Went along ok with out much sense of urgency and then a ‘death march’ at the end to catch up
We have to be cognizant of the program pace and make sure that we are tracking to our goals but not burning people out or going too slow either. The only way to do this is to have good tracking and monitoring tools in place such as schedule management or earned value tools which can gauge progress against expected plans. If a team is going too slow, then the PM may need to inject some resources or motivators and if the team is going too fast then maybe the PM can smooth things out (although I have never seen a project team that was going too fast in the beginning). The other consideration is that, in many cases, the project’s pace is only as good as the slowest team so PMs should be aware of who they are and make sure that they have what they need to be successful.
So make sure that your team is well hydrated and ready for the long run and monitor their pace closely (assuming you want to cross the finish line).