The thin red line of my project

Many articles and tips on the skills necessary for a successful project, but almost always, especially in sports, we hear that the maximum levelup gives us - DAMAGE! I want to share my “failure” and how I acted on the circumstances, but you might think that you would do it.

Perhaps someone more experienced or quick-witted has come across this and will immediately comment on how any of these problems could be avoided.

I’m the most ordinary person (2 arms, 2 legs), with a little background and minimal project management experience (1 year), and generally don’t even understand who I am and why in this world.

And yet, all restrictions (that is, the conditions set, but their occurrence are not described) are a priori considered accepted by the reader. Consider this as a task from a chess textbook, where the arrangement of the figures is given in the task and you need to win or draw, and who and why stupidly "squandered" all the other pieces and cornered the remaining ones no matter. We work with what we have.

1. We choose - we are chosen

As it is often said, TK must be done first. Better yet, do it not for free, but for the customer’s money.
Fear your desires!
PM is the same appointed position in the projects as everyone else, so it’s a completely working situation that the project gets already with TK and responsibility for its implementation.

It happened to me, there is TK (and it’s not just TK there, but a set of various specifications, all according to the full program), the preliminary budget and deadlines are announced to the Customer (yes, sometimes it just “flies” to you).

I’m fluently looking at what has fallen (quality of work) - everything is very bad, but so far I don’t yet realize the scale of the disaster. My instinct tells me - run Forest, run! But there is nowhere to run, the company cannot afford not to take the project (many reasons). What to do? Are you the leader? - Think, this is your job! And so it is - the impossible is possible.


Accepted quickly from the "arsenal" now available, the timeline and budget are "x2", and it will be visible there)
The customer, of course, is mildly shocked, I’m not happy about the deadlines. Okay, the deadlines are “x1.5”, but the budget is “x2”.

“An insurance agent must be able to do two things: first, scare, and then reassure.”

2. People - they are not resources!

Everything is always so cool and cool about teams (often with pictures about Ocean's 11 friends) that EVERYONE can do. Alas, sometimes the “team” at the start of the project is available (sometimes on no alternative basis) company employees with minimally suitable knowledge and maybe even not knowing each other. And to make it even more fun, “resources” are added to the dream team - gradually, as they are released from other projects.


Time is tight, the team is distributed, so the solution is complex:

  1. Having spit on all the plans for tasks there, at the entrance to the project everyone is given 1-2 weeks to dive into Jira without tasks.
  2. Show current status. That is, all project indicators should be in a very visible place (the project start page in Confluence), updated, and there must be an understanding of where all this comes from and why. Everyone should understand in which we are and how quickly we plunge deeper and deeper. Previously, it was my internal reporting on the project within the company to the management, but then I changed the policy and sent the reporting on the project back to the team.
  3. No rallies! Horseback ride) Only one planning meeting joint on Mondays for cloaking new next tasks or joint solutions for those stuck. The concept is simple, if we do not contact each other independently, we have no chance at all. So why seduce people with rallies, to which the discussion of the problem can be postponed. There is a problem - we call right away, at the same time we begin to communicate with each other. And this already is - glimpses of the team.

3. In the morning chairs - in the evening money!

The worst nightmare in the project in my opinion is salary problems!

I probably all know such a turn as a cash gap. But it’s getting worse. Real problems. There are prospects to get out of this, but fact is fact. No money left.


Could there be a solution?

I don’t know what can be done here. All gathered. Everyone understands everything. He asked if there is an opportunity to warn about his departure as early as possible and that I understand everything, but at least I will have time to think “how to live on”. I personally knew someone, so I knew that they would stay. Could not affect the rest.

In the future, everything was fixed, but not all survived until the bright days :(

4. New requirements

We all know that appetite comes with eating. Therefore, the new requirements at the beginning and middle of the project are sacred.


There were no buffers for this, therefore, only one path was immediately identified - the expansion of the volume and cost of work.

But there was a trick - if new works are not paid for in X days, then the same works go up by Y% (post factum was voiced - since this idea came when it became clear that the situation tended to be delayed). This encouraged to immediately determine whether these works would go or not.

5. Money is everything

One risk management technique involves a solution by creating buffers. But where to spend this "money" if time cannot be bought? I honestly still don’t know how and where people gather their teams, especially in a short time.


The first half of the project I tried to find someone in the market and increase the team, but to no avail, there were not even options whom I was ready to call. Further, the introduction of new people would only increase the deadline for the project, so this idea was over.

Further, the buffers were spent on processing for those who did not mind and were put off until later, clearly realizing that we would not finish the work on time.

6. And who are the judges?

The analytics classic says that the first thing at the beginning of the work is to determine the criteria necessary for the successful completion of the project: a list of features that need to be done to pass each of them, who will receive it, on what equipment.

But we immediately have TK (a list of requirements) - and that was a trap. Honestly, sometimes the absence of TK is better than its presence.


The worst possible solution. We do as we see ourselves as correct. If this contradicts TK, then we violate it.

7. Big brother is watching you

The most interesting part of my problems is with the most classic human solution.

I think everyone always has some kind of internal reporting. Any company has its own KPI or artifacts by which they judge the situation on the project. Since everything was bad on the project from the very beginning, I tried as best I could to reflect this in the reports. But ... nothing happened. As I believed, no one could help me with anything. Then why am I still in trouble?


I began to lie! Without any remorse. I lied to everyone who needed it if it interfered or distracted me from the project.

But I didn’t lie to some people - the team. I didn’t even lie to them about lying to the top about how we were doing. It was probably dangerous. But I was part of the team - but you cannot lie to yourself.

8. Now we need a miracle or Soft skills

In some comment here on the hub I read that the most important task of PM is to otmazatsya from the legitimate requirements of the customer (the phrase is not accurate, but the essence conveys). So, this magic is not yet within my power. But something tells me that all projects somehow deviate from the original requirements. Especially if things come up like productivity or a sharp change in the “receiver” of work.


My possibilities were not unlimited. Solving legal, technical and organizational problems already took a lot of time. It was possible to change most of the requirements in the ToR to the correct wording and agree. But conditions remained that were never met. What I reported on the delivery of work. I did not see any reason to report this earlier, since it could not help in the delivery of the project on time.


I deliberately did not evaluate the outcome of my decisions, as it would be subjective anyway.
An objective picture - the deadline and scope of the project have not been completed, part of the team has been lost.

There is only one amendment; there was no goal for the project - to create a team.

Here is a story of some of my problems managing the most common project.

"All events and characters are fictitious, any coincidences are random."

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