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4 Behaviors That Can Save or Destroy a Project

There are four behaviors (for sure out of many) that can easily destroy or save a project. Many scientific researches have been done on these dysfunctional behaviors and many new frameworks have been presented by gurus in management to deal with these dysfunctional behaviors, but still 99% of employees from top to bottom waste productivity and resources because of these behaviors. It is very interesting to know that many will not admit or accept it , despite all scientific researches and experiments, and will hate to read the rest of this blog ;) These dysfunctional behaviors are: Student Syndrome, No Early Work Transfers, Parkinson's Law, Polychronicity.

When was the best time to study for exam or write your homework when you were in school? or to put it in a better way, how many times have you prepared for your exam days/weeks/months before the exam? when did you start studying, after your teacher announced that there will be an exam in 2 weeks? From the same day or couple of days later, or maybe 2 days before the exam , or the entire night before exam?!

 This is Student Syndrome, Waiting until the last minute/hour/day to start a task that have been planned weeks before. The start of a project is as important and usually more important than its completion date. Many projects get delayed because they have started late! Project Owners are relax at the start of a project , there is no scenes of urgency or high volume of adrenalin, no management pressure; therefore they wait until the last minute to start a project. This is wrong, and projects can be saved and FINISH on-time, if projects Start on-time.

Have you ever watched a 4x100 Relay Race? Have you ever seen a runner in relay race runs faster than others and reaches his teammate, stands and rest and does not pass baton because he thinks he is far ahead of other competitors? of course not! what a silly question! In a 4x100 relay race, all team members run fast and do NOT delay passing baton to the next guy.  In projects, if you finish a work earlier than expected, you may not pass it to the next guy or you may pass it but not complete (although it is completed) and this is called No-Early-Work-Transfers! There are incentives for NOT reporting a complete task earlier than expected, such as management NOT reducing the task duration next time! The result is that, dependent tasks start late and therefore project gets delayed. Managers must be wise enough to avoid such dysfunctional behavior by providing a transparent environment and engaging team members in estimation process.

Although you may use buffer between dependent tasks to avoid No-Early-Task-Transfer or Student Syndrome, but here comes Parkinson's law: Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. If I give you 5 days to complete a task, In best case scenario you will complete the task in 5 days, although you may be able to finish the task in 2.5 days too!

What do many job descriptions have in common? Answer: Multitasking. Companies praise multitasking and encourage employees to do multitasking. But many management gurus have suggested that multitasking reduces productivity and quality of end result. This is our last dysfunctional behavior: Polychronicity. When tasks interrupt each other and one needs to deal with all of them at the same time, then things get messy. Although many claim that they are super woman and can handle multitasking, but if you watch them you will see NO sustainability and consistency in their work and end result.

Student Syndrome, No-Early-Work-Transfers, Parkinson's Law, Polychronicity are all human dysfunctional behavior and can be corrected by changing mind set and as result the culture of the organization from top-to-bottom. Project management methodologies and frameworks such as Critical Chain Method and Scrum deals with all of these dysfunctional behavior with simple techniques and tools.


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