Project completion is the focus of this episode.  We discuss how to start and implement a solution but ignore finishing.  That changes in this story.  We look at how “moving the goal line” can be expensive and self-defeating.  On the contrary, we are often far better off declaring victory and putting a stake in the ground.  That gives us a solid foundation to build on.  When we do not, we often find ourselves on shifting sand.  That causes delays, overruns, and unneeded frustration.

Project Completion – Declare Victory

One of the essential facets of the Agile Manifesto is delivering working software.  That seems like something that should go unsaid.  However, we see that being an issue in far too many projects.  When there is a moving goalpost for a milestone or completion that vexes us.  Likewise, it causes delays, confusion and pummels morale.  However, those are just the highlights.  There is much to be gained by declaring something “done” and building on that.  The label and related processes help solidify what we have and stabilizes the solution.  When we delay completion for “small additions,” we block our solution from getting to a static and stable state.  It is not different from teasing someone with a gift and constantly taking it away again.

The Lesson Learned

Stick to the plan.  We have requirements, design, and implementation plans to keep our focus.  That includes Agile projects where we have an undefined number of sprints to get to project completion.  Rather than “sneaking” in scope creep, we need to work towards completion first.  That allows us a better approach to project completion and then a focus on the next phase or version.  We can declare victory, take a deep breath, plan our next moves, and then progress with a fresh mental start.  Never underestimate the value of such milestones.

If you like this season, you will probably like Scott Adams’ book, “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life.”

Rob Broadhead

Rob is a founder of, and frequent contributor to, Develpreneur. This includes the Building Better Developers podcast. He is also a lifetime learner as a developer, designer, and manager of software solutions. Rob is the founder of RB Consulting and has managed to author a book about his family experiences and a few about becoming a better developer. In his free time, he stays busy raising five children (although they have grown into adults). When he has a chance to breathe, he is on the ice playing hockey to relax or working on his ballroom dance skills.

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