“Whatever it takes to finish things, finish. You will learn more from a glorious failure than you ever will from something you never finished.” ― Neil Gaiman

Have you noticed that in running races, sometimes people look quite exhausted and then when they see the finish line they go faster? The data shows this is true. Most people do go faster as they approach the finish line. Thus, it is unfortunate that many projects start without a clear way for the team to know when they can claim a victory. They don’t know when they can sweep across the finish line amongst cheers and glory. This lack of clarity leads to unnecessary wandering. It also deprives the organization of the surge towards the end. I have two suggestions. Suggestion 1: for your most important projects, ask various team members some of the following questions.
  • What are the most important milestones for the project you are working on?
  • What is the definition of done for each of those milestones?
  • What is your, as a team member, most important contribution to reaching done?
Suggestion 2: Use the answers to shape a razor-sharp definition of the finish line. Be prepared to cheer them across that finish line. The thrill of crossing will get everyone excited for the next starting line!

Yours in the calm pursuit of excellence,

Alan Willett
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