Project Management

Stop Starting and Start Finishing!

Jay Martin

The amount of work we take on is just as important as the projects that we select. Taking on too many projects at the same time often results in cascading and systemic project failures and leads to a multitude of organizational and stakeholder dysfunctions. This article discusses some of the pitfalls of taking on too much work and offers a simple, yet elegant, solution.

Have you ever felt like a frog in a blender—racing in circles at blurring speeds, struggling to swim against the current of stakeholder and management expectations threatening to slice you up at the slightest hint of delay—all while managing unrealistic schedules, the lack of resources, and trying your hardest to deliver value, only to realize that you keep going in circles and nothing gets done? If so, you might be a project manager (or product owner for us agile people).

I reached a point where I felt like this way too often and decided to seek advice. I received a lot of common sense suggestions about things I already knew. Then someone suggested I “stop starting and start finishing.” Um, gee, thanks. What a complete and utter waste of my time. Thanks for nothing! But as time passed and I thought more about it, I realized he was right.

What’s the Issue?
Projects succeed or fail for many reasons. It’s amazing how much effort must go into a …

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