Remember that time you did everything right on the first try?  How you got the first job you interviewed for?   When you wrote a novel beginning to end with no gaping plot holes?  Or how about the time you dated that guy and ended up marrying him after the first date?

Oh right.  You don’t remember, do you? Probably because it didn’t happen that way.

Generally, I’m an impatient person.  I want things now and I want them to be “the awesome.”  So it’s taken me a while to realize that it’s not so much time itself that’s getting in the way of getting things done.  It’s the time it takes to get things right.

This is even more true of projects.  We think that we can plan, schedule, and assign, and voila!  Project’s done!  But anyone who’s released a product with no QA, worked agonizing 80-hour weeks to hit a magical deadline, or given a client a vanilla-ized version of what they want…you know that revision-less project management is the stuff of fairy tales.

So here’s some questions to consider before you declare your project finished:

  • Did you actually met the needs the project set out to achieve?
  • Did the project just barely meet basic requirements (and not very well)?
  • Did you brainstorm and try a bunch of ideas out before you began execution?
  • Did you conduct any sort of “mid-mortem” to gauge how things are going?
  • Did you ever show the client or customer a prototype before finishing the project?
  • Do you feel proud of what you’ve accomplished?

If the answer is “no” to above, you might want to re-think your revision strategy.

As always, your thoughts and war stories on this subject are welcome in the comments.

-Deborah Fike

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