You are working on a project.
You are tantalizingly close to finishing. To shipping. To going into production.
There’s just one more thing you need to do that takes just a little bit of time.
Or you just need one more round of feedback.
“I’m so close, think it’s time to start something else”
And so, you start a new thing.
The thing you are so close to finishing gets neglected.
The pattern continues.
The next thing you know…there are 15 unfinished things lying around, and you are wondering why you are overwhelmed and stressed.
I’m guilty of doing this.
I’ll use crochet projects as an example.
I’ll start a scarf, get close to done – all I need to do is weave in the ends.
Then I’ll start another project.
Next thing I know – I have 3 scarves, a hat, and the disassembled pieces of a granny square blanket lying around the house.
To pick up any of these projects to finish it starts to feel overwhelming.
Where was I? What was the pattern I was using? What did I intend to do here?
So now, not only do I have the cognitive load of the activity I need to perform to finish, I also have the time and cognitive load of the research to remember what I need to do next.
Same thing happens in organizations.
The project team gets real close to finishing a project. Something small – not a large enterprise level thing.
They get real close to finishing. They just hit a small, final obstacle or they are waiting for one more round of feedback.
They (or their boss or the project manager or the project champion) begins to think “You know…while we are waiting we should start …. “
And the next thing everyone knows – there are 15 unfinished items in the test environment, nothing in production, and the project team members feel overwhelmed by the amount of stuff they need to do.
And yet, they struggle to do anything. Or finish anything. Or take that next step closer to done.
“Well, the team has been really busy – but we haven’t actually DONE anything.”
We need to allow ourselves and our project teams to FINISH things.
We need to have the discipline of delivery. Whether it is perfect or not. Or, as Seth Godin says, “Always be shipping.”
We need to reward the creation of things people can use vs rewarding demand and busyness.