Posted by: kerrywills | July 19, 2013

Picking weeds

My neighbor was recently sick and so I offered to mow his grass. I noticed that he had weeds growing all over his landscaping and some of them were very high. However, my yard does not have any big weeds in it at all and so I thought about why this was the case. Those who know me know that I am pretty obsessive-compulsive and it is the same with picking weeds from my landscaping which I do weekly and whenever I am outside with the kids. I realized that this is very similar to how projects get out of control.

If you are diligent and are constantly picking weeds when you see them, then they never grow to be big weeds. It is the same thing on projects as risks and issues arise – if you stay diligent on recognizing them and closing them, then they don’t turn into big problems. If you just let them grow on their own, they will continue to grow and even multiply.


Picking weeds, in the context of managing projects, means doing the following items…

  • Know to look for them – if you don’t think to look for risks and issues (weeds) then they will creep up on you so you must always be looking for them
  • Know how to address them – figure out how to eliminate them (chemicals or pick them by hand)
  • Figure out how to prevent them – even better than addressing them is to avoid them (e.g. weed fabric)

So my advice to my PM brethren is to get on your hands and knees and start weeding your projects!


  1. This reminds me of what I know as the stomp on baby monsters technique. Important concept – thanks

  2. […] Kerry Wills invokes the “weed and fertilize” metaphor for project management. […]

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