Beyond Execution

Making a difference in project management by training, speaking and writing



Posted by beyondexecution on July 13, 2011 at 2:35 PM


The title comes from a line in Adam Sandler's movie "The Waterboy". The main character's mother, in attempts to keep him on (her view) of the straight and narrow, tells him "<Fill in the blank> is the DEVIL!" The ones used in the movie were: school, football and girls.


I finished up a stint with the government (lessons learned to come in an upcoming blog post). During my time, there was a Director who wanted to avoid any shape or form of rework. This meant finding and analyzing every piece of information, making assessments on what we had or what we would need, comparing resource skillsets and developing very detailed plans. Now, I don't doubt that this is all very good and a part of due diligence. But there comes a time (or rather, too much time), when the time and cost of effort spent on this analysis, outweighs the time lost with inaction and the relatively reduced probability of major rework. In other words, 80% effort was going towards reducing the 20% chance of major rework.


Reducing rework is a noble cause. There's no doubt that reducing errors, poor direction and rework will help a project meet its objectives. But this post wants to question the notion that ALL rework is bad.


I believe if rework is planned and kept within an acceptable limit, rework can be a tool for progression. Concepts such as iterative releases or continual improvement are met with high regard; we take feedback of what is produced and build it back into the process so that greater quality is produced. In some cases, we may want to start the ball rolling, just to begin capturing feedback, because sometimes it is unknown what the process will produce. This is still rework. We just call it a different term, and it smells better.


So plan it out - Call it something different if you need to in order to gain management buy-in. Allot some time and budget for this. Indicate what is acceptable vs. unacceptable rework. Create criteria for assessing feedback and changes. Hold meetings to review what changes need to be made. And build better quality overall.

Categories: General Project Management, Scope

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