I was talking with Andy Warren, my partner and fellow partner here, today about the Code Camp in Orlando last week. He was down there with Steve McConnell trying to promote our training business and the local user group. So when I got home and saw this thread on late projects, I was kind of intrigued. I actually added a post there, but there's more to say. It needs an editorial if not an article.
In any case, I thought I'd add a bit since I've been in the situation of being late on a project.
The first thing I'd say is don't panic. If you just found out things are running behind, go tell your boss and tell him not to panic. Then say you'll work on a plan. In fact, if your boss is upset that the project is late, stop for 30 minutes, go get a latte, a Dairy Queen blizzard, or something else and let your mind go.
The first thing you need is a plan. If you're a developer, go tell your PM to figure it out and get back to work. If you're a PM, then read on.
First you should get the proper mindset. Your developers build software. Help them do that. Don't make them fill out time sheets, don't make them project future work, don't make them clean up the break room or attend meetings on new HR policies or anything else. Let them be productive at the thing you most need them to be doing.
I know that pitching in around the office, knowing and adhereing to company policies, etc. are all important. And they are things that are necessary to keeping things going, just like doing the dishes and getting your clothes in the basket for 3 points are important at home. But when youre' behind, some things just need to slip and the things you want to slip are the less time critical things, which is everything except software!
Steve Jones is the editor of SQLServerCentral.com and visits a wide variety of data related topics in his daily editorial. Steve has spent years working as a DBA and general purpose Windows administrator, primarily working with SQL Server since it was ported from Sybase in 1990. You can follow Steve on Twitter at twitter.com/way0utwest