I have now worked on ten multi-million dollar projects. On every one I see differing levels of commitment with regards to project dates. It ranges from people working weekends and long hours to meet the dates to people who have an “oh well” attitude towards meeting (and missing) dates. Lot of times dates are treated as numbers on the calendar and not commitments that need to be made. The usual response back is “I tried” or some excuse as to why it could not be met. A classic one is “they told me the dates” which relates to management and decisions and then absolves the team member of the need to meet the dates.
First off what I do is to involve the team in coming up with the dates and the plan. This way no one can say that they weren’t part of the schedule planning and I can then hold them accountable for meeting the commitments. Secondly I monitor the plan at a very detailed level to understand any possible variance towards meeting the dates. Lastly when I ask someone for something I write it down and then follow up with them the day after they say they will get it for me.
To me I will know I have a committed team when I don’t have to send reminders, follow up with people on the things they commited to, and monitor every aspect of the project. Utopia will be a model where people self-manage their work and intrinsically work towards their commitments.
…oh wait, then I wouldn’t have a job.