The Business of Learning - learning ecosystems

In a perfect world, we’d all have the exact budget and time needed to make every project perfect. But, we all know how often that happens.

Lately I’ve worked on a few projects that, though I can’t say budget wasn’t an issue, it certainly wasn’t as big of an issue as the timeline. We start these projects knowing we’ll have to make concessions and changes to our normal process to accommodate speed. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

I’ve found that when projects move at hyperspeed, the smallest little thing can completely derail everything. In the most successful fast-paced projects I’ve managed, there are a few things that hold true, for both the development team and the client, that contribute to the project meeting its objectives. It’s important to know them and consider them before racing into a project with a tight timeline.

  1. Honesty is everything. You have to be be willing to be honest, on both sides of the table. If anyone holds anything back, there’s no time to fix things, especially expectations.
  2. Being on the same page is not just a cute expression. Alignment of project requirements, objectives, and expectations are critical in a fast moving project. And, more than that, both the client team and development team have to share the same “unified vision”, as I call it. If one person doesn’t understand the end goal and his/her role in reaching that goal, it can back up progress and ripple through the entire project.
  3. Leave your ego at the door. Fast projects require quick decisions and frequent changes. There’s no time for anyone to be offended if someone changes what they’ve added to the project. And personal agendas pushing against the real project objectives confuse everyone.
  4. The only sure thing is change. Stay flexible and open. Things shift. Sometimes there are delays, but sometimes we’ll be able to do something faster than expected. The people who work best and are most relaxed in these situations are the people that can go with the flow, adapt, and move on.

Don’t sacrifice things now that will end up taking more time later. Its so easy to fall into the temptation of cutting steps out of a proven process or trying to cut corners. But time and time again, when something is cut, it’s really proven later why that step was needed. Trust the process, but work on ways to speed it up.

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