Connie drove a silver Camry with rosary beads hanging from her rearview mirror and a Smith & Wesson stuck under the seat. No matter what went down, Connie was covered.”

Janet Evanovich, from the Stephanie Plum book series

The team I was coaching was behind schedule. The good news was that this was an exceptional team, and as such, they knew exactly why. Good teams might know they are behind.  They might even know how much they are behind.

But good teams just work harder. The predator always catches them.

This exceptional team knew that time was going to be a predator.  They knew it would attack all their planning assumptions looking for the weakest points.

So the team made detailed plans with clear assumptions.  They knew how many hours per week each team member was planning to work on project tasks.  They had estimated the size of the products they were building.  They used size to estimate time. They calculated how much the plan might grow because of new customer demands.  They added in time they would need if the risks they expected became real issues.

The time predator struck in two ways.  Because of the detailed planning, they knew exactly where.

First, the customer’s changes exceeded the budget they had estimated by seven percent.  This wasn’t too bad.  They could have handled that without any sweat.

The second way added on top.  One of the products they had estimated was twice the size expected and thus taking twice the time.  As this was only one of many pieces, the time predator wasn’t successful at killing the chance of successful delivery.  Many of the other parts were over-estimated.  So the impact was only an additional 10% total overage for the plan.

This team was committed to delivering to their customer at the time they promised.  This predatory attack got the whole team focused.

They worked with the customer to determine which changes were critical.   

They examined the over-sized product.  On closer analysis, the team found a more eloquent design and were able to cut the size in half. 

With these two changes plus a little extra sweat, the team was able to deliver a high-quality stellar product on time.

Time is a predator.

Are you not prepared? You will be forever running in fear with the deadline eluding you.

Be prepared, and the predator will be your motivating focus.

Yours in the calm pursuit of excellence,

Alan Willett

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